Proposed opening comments from CRD Board Chair at the Esquimalt public hearing to consider the rezoning application for the McLoughlin Point Liquid Waste Treatment Facility

Jul 08, 2013

To Mayor Desjardins and members of Esquimalt Council,

As Chair of the Capital Regional District, I am attending the public hearing to ask you to approve the proposed amendments to the Esquimalt Official Community Plan and Zoning bylaws 2804 & 2805, to accommodate the McLoughlin Point sewage treatment plant as requested by the CRD.

As you know, the CRD acts for the seven municipalities, and two First Nations by agreement, who participate in the Core area Liquid Waste Management (CALWM) Service who, in 2006, were required by the BC Minister of Environment to detail a fixed schedule for secondary wastewater treatment. The requirement for wastewater treatment is also affirmed by the Federal Government’s 2012 Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations, which now require the implementation of secondary wastewater treatment across Canada.

As all members of council know, the Minister of Environment approved amendments to the Core Area Liquid Waste Management Plan in 2010, designating McLoughlin Point as the site for the treatment plant. The decision was made following several years of consultation, which included more than 100 meetings, as deemed appropriate by the Minister. At that time, Esquimalt Council advised the CRD that the McLoughlin Point site was a preferred location over Macaulay Point.

Since the 2010 approval of the CALWM Plan, the capacity of the plant has been refined based on; sustainability principles, operating feasibility, value for money and an approved and agreed on funding formula. Elimination of water reuse and a wet weather plan at Clover Point allowed for consolidation at McLoughlin Point and deferral of a decision on a West Shore plant for several decades, this results in a cost saving to all participants of over $180 million dollars while not negating the opportunity for resource recovery.

As you are aware, several other significant components of the overall system are located throughout the service area. The process to site these facilities has always been collaborative with the aim of achieving mutually agreeable solutions. Indeed, despite news reports of the ups and downs of the processes, many useful agreements have been reached, informed to a large extent by the participants who make representations to the various bodies and decision makers that provide for our democratic governance.

On the application, our consultants and staff have worked closely with your staff to meet all of the application process requirements, including attending open houses, meeting with and responding to advisory committees, and explaining the opportunities and limitations the CRD has to consider when responding to your concerns as a publicly accountable order of government and authority. We have explained how we intend to mitigate impacts in the submissions made with the application. We have also been clear about the legal limitations the CRD has and we have been forthright about our obligations under the Environmental Management Act. Therefore, I must say, with guidance from the CRD solicitor, the list of conditions and the form of the alternate bylaw, 2086, that you have proposed are well beyond our legal authority and in some areas unworkable. In this regard, I trust that Esquimalt Council has been fully informed of the legalities and the CRD’s obligations and authority according to the Environmental Management Act and the funding arrangements and schedule that have the Federal and Provincial governments committing more than $500 million to the program.

A public hearing submission will not allow the CRD to fully present the undertakings made to Esquimalt through supporting information and within the performance requirements to be secured in the competitive design, bid, build, procurement process. The budget for the treatment plant will devote up to 5% to ensure design objectives are met in balance with sewage treatment requirements, with other resources devoted to mitigating impacts through specified performance requirements.

While there have and will be many challenges to see the CALWM program fully implemented, the CRD respects that Esquimalt council will give due consideration to the input it has received throughout the process and at the public hearings.
We remain committed to work with you to complete this important regional facility.

Correspondence previously sent regarding the rezoning application:
McLoughlin Point Rezoning Application - Letter to Mayor and Council, Township of Esquimalt
Follow up letter to Mayor and Council, Township of Esquimalt

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