Stick this in your pipe

Monday Magazine 28 April 2010

Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca Liberal MP Keith Martin came out swinging against the CRD last week, issuing a press release headlined “CRD’s Sewage Treatment Plan = $1 billion boondoggle.”

Monday asked Martin what he thinks keeps driving the controversial process forward.

“I think that the federal government is pursuing a one-size-fits-all process and do not understand that there are differences in Canada where this is not necessary and they’re going to waste billions of dollars through this one-size-fits-all policy,” says Martin. “The province feels squished in the middle on two counts. One is that they’ve got this pressure from the feds, and they’re not willing to push back because they feel that politically, they’re sick and tired of the people saying that we need a sewage plant in Victoria and they’re not willing to take up the battle to say this is not based on science and there are other places to put the money that will improve the environment.”

Martin, however, also had harsh words for the CRD’s politicians and senior staff.

“The CRD, I think, sees this as a massive cash cow that will enable them to generate and acquire more than $20 million a year in operating costs, between $1 billion and $1.9 billion in monies for construction costs, that they can dip into and use in the course of their actions. Lost in all this, of course, is the responsible use of the taxpayers’ money to do what is needed to improve our marine environment, and that includes repairing our fractured storm drainage system and improving on our already impressive source control system that the CRD has in place.”

Martin says spending so much money on secondary sewage treatment will prevent the region from implementing other initiatives that would improve the regional environment, like refurbishing the E&N rail line to launch commuter rail travel and take cars off the road.