The Comox Valley Sewage Commission has approved plans to reschedule public engagement on the future of the Comox Valley Sewer Service, as the community adjusts to a new normal amidst COVID-19 mitigation measures. Consultation will now take place in the fall, when it’s hoped the community can participate with more interest and capacity.
The Comox Valley sewer system treats wastewater, or raw sewage, from homes and businesses in Courtenay, Comox and K’ómoks First Nation. In early March, the public was asked to weigh in on a shortlist of options for upgrading the service’s conveyance system, including the pipes and pump stations that move wastewater to the sewage treatment plant. New conveyance options are being considered to relocate a vulnerable section of sewer pipe that runs along Balmoral Beach, below the Willemar Bluffs.
“Public consultation is a critical part of the planning process underway and – although there are digital tools available – we feel that people need to be focused on the ongoing adjustments to life and routine, and on keeping themselves and others safe at this time,” commission chair David Frisch said in a news release.
An online survey was launched early in March and open houses were scheduled for April. Open houses were cancelled following directives of the Provincial Health Officer. As COVID-19 mitigation measures began to increase, the online survey was suspended. Survey responses have been saved and will be included as part of the final report.
The revised engagement schedule will include online and open house consultation through September. The goal of staff is to provide a recommended option, based on public and technical experts’ feedback, to the commission in November.
“We know that people have a lot on their minds right now, and we want to make sure the quality of our public engagement for this planning process isn’t compromised by pushing forward in this difficult time,” said Kris La Rose, senior manager, water and wastewater services. “As we approach the fall, we’ll determine how best to connect with our community when we’re all hopefully in a calmer time.”
For more information on the Comox Valley Sewer Service’s Liquid Waste Management Plan, visit www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/lwmp.
To receive updates on next steps, visit www.connectcvrd.ca/lwmp and sign up to follow the project.