WATCH: Sewage treatment is a controversial and hotly contested issue in the capital region. But however long it takes and however much it costs, there’s no going back. Tess van Straaten has more on how long the project will take and how it’s construction might be reflected in a tax increase.
The pump station at Clover Point is being upgraded and construction will begin soon on a pipe that will run to Ogden Point.
“It’s very exciting. Our reputation as a region is that we’re very sustainable and once the sewage treatment plant opens, we’ll be able to stand by that – no more raw sewage going into the ocean,” Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said.
Officials say construction is going well on the $760-million sewage treatment project, which will provide tertiary treatment for the core area municipalities of Victoria, Esquimalt, Saanich, Oak Bay, View Royal, Langford and Colwood and the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations.
However, the project means taxpayers will be paying more and not just for sewage. The project is driving up the CRDs capital budget, with a projected increase of $51 million in the latest forecast.
“This is a peak year for the core area liquid waste expenditures so we know what our taxes are going to go up because of that,” Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins said.
Operating spending – which affects all 13 Greater Victoria municipalities and three electoral districts – is also projected to increase by about $12 million, which means taxpayers could see CRD property tax increases ranging from less than one per cent to more than 15 per cent, depending on the municipality.
Esquimalt is facing the biggest increase at just over 15 per cent or $63. Colwood is just over 12 per cent, or $38. Langford is also just over 12 per cent, which works out to almost $41.
and View Royal is up more than 10 per cent or $41.
Salt Spring Island and Juan de Fuca are the lowest at less than one per cent – followed closely by Oak Bay with a 1.3 per or $6 increase. But politicians say all of the numbers are preliminary and could change.
“At this time this is a very preliminary budget so I would say there are going to be a number of shifts in that budget before we get to the final budget which would be presented to a new board in March,” Desjardins said.
The sewage project is expected to be finished in December 2020.