The gallery was full at Tuesday’s meeting of the CVRD sewage commission. Scott Stanfield photo

Area B participation on sewage commission still up in air

The regional sewage commission will further consider the idea of appointing the Area B director as a temporary, non-voting member when a governance review is completed in September.

The commission consists of three representatives each from Comox and Courtenay, and one from CFB Comox. The Curtis Road Residents Association (CRRA) is requesting a bylaw amendment to include representation from their area, considering the Water Pollution Control Centre is located on Brent Road in Area B.

Last month, the CVRD board referred the matter to Tuesday’s meeting of the commission, which had previously defeated a motion for a non-voting seat for Area B at the table. Courtenay directors had voted in favour, and Comox against. CFB Comox director Major Delta Gerard was absent, so the motion was defeated.

“Why has the RD committee of the whole turned it back to us?” Comox director Russ Arnott said Aug. 13. “We’re tasked with making decisions, and we made one. What’s to say that whatever decision we make today won’t be turned back to us again? When does that end?”

“As a board, we looked at what was going on in the public sphere, and perhaps the relationship in the past has not been so great with the residents of Curtis Road,” said sewage commission chair David Frisch, a Courtenay director. “It’s not something that we’re going to instantly change.”

“I find it somewhat disrespectful that you have to send it back to us,” Arnott replied. “It leads me to wonder where the integrity lies with the Town of Comox vote, with our needs, when we get pushed aside, when we’re a paying member to the sewage commission. We have a special interest group (CRRA) — which in all due respect, they’re doing a great job — but when they speak up, we dismiss Comox’s concerns.”

Earlier in the year, Area B director Arzeena Hamir had requested a bylaw change that would give her position voting rights on the commission — which referred her request for consideration as part of a Utilities Governance Study.

“It’s obviously a big disappointment for Curtis Road and for Area B to not have a decision made and have it deferred again,” Hamir said after Tuesday’s meeting. “I hope in September that we have decisions, because this really has been leaving the community hanging for a very long time.”

CRRA member Jenny Steel said the district is not consulting with Area B in the governance study.

“The writing is on the wall then that nothing will change moving forward,” she said, noting the CRRA remains committed in its pursuit of having a voice at the sewage commission table. “The sewage treatment plant, the outfall plant and the force mains are in our area, and what Comox and Courtenay does with these can seriously impact our lives.”

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