The CRD’s wastewater treatment project could be subject to cost overruns in the future, says the project chair.

“We are feeling concerned that there is a likelihood that we will not be able to deliver the program within the control budget,” Don Fairbairn told the core committee last week.

The project is already underway and aims to modernize the way the capital region deals with its sewage.

It has been estimated to cost $765 million, with the federal and provincial governments covering $459 million and the remainder, $306 million, coming from the CRD.

Fairbairn cites increases in material costs and labour costs as well as design changes that reflect input from stakeholders as reasons for the possible overrun.

Brian Burchill, who led a group of citizens that opposed the project, said he is not surprised to learn of this development.

“I’ve told them time and time and time again that there was no benefit for this project, no defined benefit, and that the project would almost certainly go over budget,” Burchill said.

Burchill said he is concerned that taxpayers will have to pay for any overruns.

The CRD has asked two independent firms to look at the reasons behind a cost increase, and as well for ways to reduce future costs.

“If there is a cost pressure, and they come up with mitigation, it may be that it balances out in the wash and there is no cost overrun,” said Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee Chair Barb Desjardins.

Desjardins said there has been no cost overrun to date.

During the recent meeting, Fairbairn said they intend on commissioning the project as planned in December 2020.

Calvin To