On Monday June 27at 1 PM at City Hall, City Council will make a final decision on their sewage plan before they send the plan to the provincial government for approval.
Water Watch is encouraging people to attend this meeting. Councillors will vote on a new sewage option recently proposed called “Phased Consolidation.” A staff report describes “Phased Consolidation” as a “third sewage treatment option” which involves going with joint treatment initially and then building a City plant in the Townsite.
But the overwhelming feedback the City received from its public consultation was for a public sewage system, not to hand over sewage treatment to Catalyst and then build a public plant some time in the future. By a 10 to 1 vote the Joint Advisory Committee also passed a motion
“That a recommendation be made to the Steering Committee to select a publicly owned and operated consolidation option for treatment of the City’s wastewater.”
This new City proposal for joint treatment first and a public plant later was never presented for public discussion during the City’s sewage public consultation meetings. According to the Environmental Management Act, cities are required to have comprehensive public consultation on all aspects of the final content of a sewage plan. But the City apparently intends to avoid doing this.
The public is also supposed to be given the costs of the proposed option before it is approved.
According to last week’s staff report, the new “Phased Consolidation” option starting off with joint treatment would cost the city at least $4 million more over its life cycle than if the City just built its own public plant. (“Phased Consolidation” would cost $23.3 million, building a public plant would cost $18,964,000).
Part of this additional cost is to pay for running a sewer line to the mill, infrastructure that will be useless when the City builds its own plant.
This June, a permanent federal fund to help pay for sewage projects was established, one Powell River could apply to for a public plant.
City Councillors need to hear from you in advance of Monday’s meeting if you have concerns about them approving their new “Phased Consolidation” option with no public input.