Whatever It Takes!

Esquimalt residents ready to fight CRD’s sewage treatment plan

By Tim Morrison
Esquimalt Review
July 27, 2010

It was a hot summer evening last week at Esquimalt Municipal Hall… hot in temperature and hot in tempers. It was standing room only as more than a hundred local concerned residents packed in to Council Chambers to express their outrage, frustrations, and constructive input in response to the Capital Regional District’s hasty decision to locate the CRD’s new centralized sewage treatment plant at McLouglin Point in Esquimalt.

Of note, there was absolutely no CRD representation in attendance to hear the concerns of the community during this traditional Town Hall-style Meeting… not even one CRD official had the decency or, more likely, the courage to face the people most impacted by a the CRD’s irresponsible planning. One speaker after another lined up to point out the many foibles of the project, often referred to as “billion dollar boondoggle”.

The crowd included experts, engineers, and environmentalists, all of whom pointed out that the project is not only too costly at $300 per year per household, but that it also hurts more than helps the environment.

The people of Esquimalt stressed that this is not about NIMBYism (Not In My Backyard syndrome), but rather more about common sense and doing what is in the best interests of the environment and the taxpayers. All of the public input pleaded with Council to do “whatever it takes” to halt the project from becoming reality, a message heard loud and clear by Council.

“This is not just an Esquimalt problem,” declared Mayor Barb Desjardins. “This is a regional disaster that is occurring. This is not the right plan.”

Councillor Don Linge, a lawyer by profession, described the situation as “a classic class-action case in which we are all impacted” in referring to the need for all CRD residents to join forces in stopping the project through whatever legal means available.

Councillor Randall Garrison vowed that he was willing to play nice with the CRD and approach the matter rationally to negotiate a solution in the best interests of Esquimalt, but if the CRD continue to ignore our community, then he is prepared to have Council obstruct the project through whatever means possible including bylaws that would ban trucking in/out of the site.

As the evening wore on and as both the public and Council expressed themselves so passionately, it became abundantly clear that the CRD have picked a fight with the wrong community and one that will not standby and allow this project to be bulldozed into our home.

“We are Esquimalt, we are proud, and we have a voice,” declared Councillor Meagan Brame.

Esquimalt’s next move will likely involve legal action against the CRD in a case of taxpayer suing taxpayer… a mess all of the CRD’s making and a mess much more revolting that anything in our sewage system.