A Tuesday sewage commission meeting at the regional district boardroom drew a standing-room only crowd of Croteau Beach-Hawkins Greenway residents who are concerned about a sewer pump station that had been proposed for the Area B neighbourhood.
A study had recommended construction of the Comox No. 2 Pump Station on Beech Street, which outraged residents who said they were blindsided by the idea.
The station had been put on hold four months until the regional district could complete a thorough public process. The budget for the project is estimated to exceed $10.7 million.
In a presentation, Mary Lang said the neighbourhood believes the proposed site “is a mistake that you have inherited.”
The study also recommends a new inland forcemain alignment from the station to the water pollution control centre, which would bypass Willemar Bluff near Goose Spit.
“Thirty yeas ago, directors thought that the Willemar Bluff forcemain was the best solution — now you have their problem to fix,” Lorraine Aitken said to the commission.
The Croteau Beach group proposes several alternative sites they say would provide a solution for the foreshore and the bluffs while safeguarding drinking water, which is the primary concern of residents. The sites are located on private land.
Lang said the owners have indicated a willingness to sell.
Marc Rutten, the CVRD’s manager of engineering services, said the Courtenay pump station has reached capacity, which necessitates the No. 2 station.
Besides Beech Street, a study identified other possible locations at MacDonald Wood, Filberg and Baybrook parks, and a property near Comox Town Hall.
Comox director Barbara Price opposes the idea of building a station in these parks, but feels it should be constructed in Comox.
“I think it’s really important we get it right this time,” she said.
The commission unanimously agreed that the CVRD will continue to evaluate suitable properties to build the station. Directors feel the evaluation should not be limited to Comox, as recommended by staff.
“An imaginary line shouldn’t determine the pump station location,” said Courtenay director Erik Eriksson, who drew a round of applause by suggesting the CVRD revisit its governance structure that enables Courtenay commission members to outvote Comox directors.
The commission did not approve a recommendation to retain a hydrogeologist to study groundwater implications of constructing the station at Beech Street.
A motion from Comox director Ken Grant to assemble a citizens advisory committee passed.
The group will help guide the CVRD during the selection process.