Consolidation the right plan for sewers

Now is the time for the Courtenay/Comox/Military Sewer Commission to look into the future.

Dear editor,

Very soon the CVRD will be holding a referendum with the residents of the Royston/Union Bay area asking them to endorse the funds to install sewer pipes and a sewer treatment plant in their area. Should the South Sewer referendum fail, it would present a perfect opportunity to review the current approach to the Valley’s sewage infrastructure. Federal infrastructure dollars are there for a project that understands the effects of sea level rise, climate change and increased ocean storms on the foreshore.

Why a South Sewer treatment plant? Because Courtenay and Comox own the sewer system and in the past as today they do not want to share or join forces with the Regional District. Their vision is limited and they covet their sewer system, however, time is running out for Courtenay and Comox.  Their treatment plant is approaching capacity and their pipe system is getting old.

In less than a decade they will be coming to their constituents asking for tens of millions of dollars to upgrade their system.

Now is the time for the Courtenay/Comox/Military Sewer Commission to look into the future and realize that they must join forces with the CVRD to spend joint funds for a future expanded sewer system.

• Do we need a treatment plant in the south or can the effluent from the south be pumped through the existing system and treated in the present updated treatment plant?

• Can we improve our economies of scale by using funds from the South to work together with the present/future Courtenay/Comox/Military Sewer Commission’s dollars?

• Do we need two separate sewer treatment facilities for our small community?

• These and more questions must be addressed before another cent is spent on a pump station.

On Nov. 10, 2015 Brad Dillen, a Senior Project Controls Officer, made a presentation to the Commission demonstrating that by spending $23 million today on the Courtenay #1 pump station we could save $10 million in 2027. An advisory group to the Sewer Commission demonstrated that improving the Courtenay #1 pump station was the best option for the future. The commissioners ignored the advice and opted for the $12 million pump station on Beech Street.

We need the Sewer Commission to listen; think of what is best for themselves, the environment, our larger community and to tap into federal infrastructure dollars. The time for new thinking from the Commission should begin today.

Jim Gillis

Area B

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