Esquimalt residents flock to sewage open house

Esquimalt News
July 07, 2010 11:48 AM

Shock, anger and confusion filled Esquimalt council chambers this week as the Capital Regional District held two open houses on the region’s latest sewage plan.

Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins said a crowd of 50 to 70 residents floated through the room.

“There were questions about whether it was a done deal or not and real concern about the discussions around trucking (sludge through the municipality),” Desjardins said. “There are concerns still that the CRD was not giving people any confidence that, in fact, it wouldn’t be trucking (the sludge to Hartland landfill).”

McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt has now been pegged as the sole sewage treatment site for the region, with biosolids likely to be transported to Hartland for processing. That has some Esquimalt residents feeling blindsided by the news.

“At some point, this McLoughlin site became available under the understanding that it would be preferable to Esquimalt,” said CRD board chair Geoff Young, who attended Tuesday’s open house. “People said (the site) deserves something better ... That’s a fair comment and we will listen to that in the design of the project.”

McLoughlin Point became the treatment site of choice after land acquisition discussions fell through for sites at Macaulay Point and Victoria’s Upper Harbour, Young said.

A number of James Bay residents were at the Tuesday open house in Esquimalt. New condo-owners in the Victoria neighbourhood told Desjardin they were frustrated their ocean views could include a sewage plant in the future, she said.

The CRD sent its sewage treatment plan proposal to the provincial government for final approval last week.