Victoria, BC – The Seaterra Program will not be proceeding with the implementation of a wastewater treatment facility at McLoughlin Point, following a decision today by Minister of Environment Mary Polak and Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Coralee Oakes. The treatment plant was to be part of the Seaterra Program, established to bring the region into compliance with the Federal and Provincial regulations for sewage treatment.
“It is regrettable that the province has made this decision,” said CRD Board Chair Alastair Bryson. “The Capital Regional District is now unable to implement the provincially approved Core Area Liquid Waste Management Plan and our funding agreements with the federal and provincial governments are contingent on the implementation of this plan.”
The Capital Regional District (CRD) sought direction from Minister Polak and the Provincial Government in April, when the Township of Esquimalt Council rejected the CRD’s revised McLoughlin Point rezoning application.
In May 2011, the CRD adopted the Core Area Liquid Waste Management Plan, which identified McLoughlin Point as the location of the wastewater treatment plant. Under the direction of the Provincial Government, the CRD established an independent Commission to deliver the major components of the program and took significant steps to advance the program including developing a funding agreement outlining the methodology for the construction of a wastewater treatment facility, payment and terms.
The CRD believes that after extensive and exhaustive studies and analysis it developed a program that would have met the needs of the core area municipalities and residents for several decades to come at the least cost to the taxpayers, while meeting the Provincial and Federal regulations.
“Federal funding requires a satisfactory outcome that meets the regulation,” said Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee Chair Geoff Young. “It is unfortunate that the provincial government would order, agree to fund and then not assist us as they could in carrying out this program.”
The CRD is now faced with the challenge of determining how it can satisfy regional priorities and meet the Federal government deadline of having a wastewater treatment facility in place in the capital region by 2020. It is unclear at this time whether the Provincial government direction will put access to federal funding at risk.
In light of this significant decision, the CRD Board and committee will be meeting on June 11 to discuss next steps and the future of the Seaterra Program.
The CRD is a local government that delivers 200+ regional, sub-regional and local services for residents of the region which includes 13 municipalities and three electoral areas within 2370 square kilometres on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Governed by a 24 member Board of Directors, the CRD is working to serve the public, and build a vibrant, livable and sustainable region.
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