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Jan132016

Dr Peck's Presentation to CRD Jan 13th 2016 

There are 424 pages of material before you to-day. Some are duplicated.  I suggest to you that this is too much for you to be able to make carefully considered political decisions. 

Surely the reports should be summarised more to enable you to make significant political decisions – like what is needed and can be afforded.   

What the public consultations seem to achieve is an amazing number of aspirational and sentimental ideas that may be possible but are expensive.  I say again surely your job is to decide what is needed and affordable by the taxpayer. 

Water reclamation. With regards to water reclamation I urge you to place before the public in the planned consultations the best information from CRD water or the CRD Water Commission about the need, which I understand shows that there is an adequate supply of water for more than fifty years for the region. To continue to support the increased cost of water reclamation is absurd. It may be a nice idea but it is not needed.  It is stated in to-day’s reports “While treating to tertiary level has some appeal it does come with higher capital and operating costs.” There is undoubtedly, as stated “A strong sentiment to reuse reclaimed water”.  

Cost Estimates.  I see it is confirmed in the consultant’s reports that the current cost estimates before you are what British Columbia Professional Engineers call Class D estimates which means +/- 50%. These costs may be 50% higher or 50% lower. A report from the Technical Advisory Panel stated “The costs now have a wide margin of error on the capital side”. This uncertainty should be part of the information put before the public not hidden in long consultant’s reports.  

Carbon Footprint.  There is information in the reports to-day about the carbon footprint – there should be comparison with the present practice of preliminary screening and deep sea outfalls where there is a minimal carbon footprint. What is the carbon footprint compared with the present practice? 

Emerging Contaminants. With regards to the scientific uncertainty about the effects on the environment produced by emerging contaminants of concern the following statement in the reports is welcomed “Treatment processes and technologies for emerging contaminants be assessed in the future once effluent criteria for emerging contaminants have been identified by the regulators”. 

Macaulay Point. I am delighted to see that you have a motion before you to potentially acquire DND land close to Macaulay Point for the proposed sewage treatment plants. There is a lot of mostly unused land there. In the past it was not considered because it would take time to acquire from the DND and there was some neighbourhood reaction.    

Homelessness. I would like to comment on the homeless issue in the Capital Region.  I speak from my 26 years of experience in Community Health. I find it bizarre that we have a major issue of homelessness in our community. There is the reluctance of governments to spend significant taxpayers money on the problem or to place more emphasis on poverty reduction.  Then we have on the other hand your interest in spending more than $1 billion on sewage treatment for Victoria. Treatment plants that I would again like to remind you that there has been no cost-benefit study (or value for money audit) for building these planned land based sewage treatment plants. 

What are the priorities - human health and welfare or belief in building large engineering projects for which the measurable benefits are undefined?  Should not the comparison with funding for the homeless issue be considered when it comes to spending taxpayers money on increased sewage treatment? 

Thank you,  

Dr Shaun Peck, Public Health Consultant.

Medical Health Officer for the CRD 1989-1995

Member of Responsible Sewage Treatment Victoria www.rstv.ca

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