Political interference has Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps fuming.
“Welcome everyone, to the Capital Regional Board meeting on Wednesday, June 8th.”
It’s a warm greeting, by CRD chair Barb Desjardins.
But she’s just getting started.
“Our role as directors now is clear. It is to ensure that the project board is allowed to do their job,” says Desjardins.
Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell is at the centre of her comments. Specifically, his lobbying for a private firm to build a sewage plant at Victoria’s Clover Point.
“Political interference at this point is not acceptable,” says Desjardins.
That political interference left Victoria’s Lisa Helps fuming.
“To me it’s not even about stepping on my toes or stepping on Victoria’s toes,” says Helps. ” The whole thing is just disrespectful. It’s disrespectful to the project board. to the province and really disrespectful to the public.”
As if the CRD doesn’t have enough to do. In order to receive $500 million in provincial and federal funding, it agreed to a number of conditions.
On May 11th, local politicians agreed to conditions set out by B.C.’s Community Minister Peter Fassbender.
“I think there are some clear deadlines that are very short. September 30th as far as the federal government is concerned,” said Fassbender.
The federal government is clear that any funding “…beyond September 30th 2016 will be based on the CRD’s ability to move forward with the selection of a site for the sewage plant.”
And the province clarified its position. It wants a business case that includes zoning for a plant by September 30th.
Zoning for McLoughlin Point is in place. Not for Clover Point. And the total budget for the sewage treatment system is just under $788 million. So far, the total spent is $67 million.
The new sewage panel will be released Thursday.
Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell did not respond to requests for an interview.