Esquimalt ramps up sewage fight

Municipality launches website opposing McLoughlin Point plant

By Kim Westad
Times Colonist
September 04, 2010
http://www2.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/capital_van_isl/story....

Esquimalt has a new website, one devoted to getting the region’s proposed sewage plant out of the municipality.

“We don’t think the public clearly understands the implications of the plan as it now stands,” Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins said yesterday.

The provincial government mandated the region to have secondary sewage treatment in place by 2016. Currently, the core municipalities run sewage through a six millimetre screen before it is shot out into the ocean.

After four years of study, argument and debate, the Capital Regional District’s sewage committee recommended one central liquids only treatment site at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt. The sludge — what is left over after the liquids are removed — would then be sent via a pipeline to a second site where it would be dealt with. That second site is either at the Hartland landfill in Saanich, which would require 18 kilometres of pipes, or another closer site.

The plan, which was recently approved by the provincial government, says that the sludge can be dealt with at a closer site if one can be found.

The CRD is looking for a closer site.

But Desjardins and Esquimalt council say it is unfair that the sole treatment site is on prime waterfront property in their municipality. Desjardins said other potential sites in Colwood have not been thoroughly examined and she thinks they should be before almost $1 billion is spent on treatment.

If something were to go wrong at McLoughlin Point, at the end of Victoria View Road overlooking the harbour, any odors would drift to the high-density residential areas nearby such as the Songhees, Desjardins said.

There is still time to move the site, Desjardins said. The website at www.thewrongplan.ca provides links to all local politicians. Desjardins thinks political pressure could prompt the CRD to take another look at the main treatment site.

kwestad@tc.canwest.com