Archive for July, 2010

The presentations from the Water Watch Coalition Public Presentation on Wednesday, July 21 are now available on our library page.  CUPE has also posted photos of the event on their website.


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WOW!  The public meeting held by the Water Watch Coalition last night was terrific.  Many thanks to the 90 or so folks who came out to learn more about the City’s proposal to enter into a partnership with Catalyst Paper to co-treat our sewage.  There were many thoughtful questions from the public and on the whole, I think everyone came away with a better understanding of the situation.

Water Watch Coalition members Trish Cocksedge and I gave presentations on the democratic process and background on the LWMP to date, MLA Nicholas Simons presented insights to the Provincial role, and Robin Roff of CUPE gave an overview of P3 projects.  Councillor Maggie Hathaway was in the audience and very graciously agreed to field questions during the question period afterwards, so a big thank you to her for jumping in.  If you missed the meeting, the presentations given last night (and video of the entire event – I hope!) will be posted to our site shortly, and the petition is still open for signatures in case you haven’t had a chance to sign it yet.

Many thanks to everyone for making this such a successful – and enjoyable – event!

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Late Friday afternoon, the City posted notice of a meeting of the Liquid Waste Management Steering Committee for

Wednesday, July 14 @ 3:00pm

The agenda was was only posted today and is available here.

I would like to urge everyone to attend this meeting if they can.  Included in the agenda package is a staff report which contains some startling recommendations from City staff that

the Liquid Waste Management Steering Committee recommend to Council to endorse or reject the City/Catalyst co-treatment proposal based upon the findings presented in the Draft City/Catalyst Mill Joint Wastewater Treatment Report.

Further, if the Steering Committee elects to recommend endorsement of the proposal, they should:

request the Advisory Committee evaluate the Catalyst Co-treatment Proposal based upon its own merits and provide a recommendation to the Steering Committee for presentation at a Public Open House.

request the Advisory Committee compare the Catalyst Co-treatment Proposal with the Waste Transfer Site and the Townsite Treatment Existing Site and provide a recommendation for siting a treatment facility to the Steering Committee for presentation at a Public Open House.

This raises concerns on a number of fronts:

1)    Staff are urging the Steering Committee to make a recommendation based on an incomplete draft report.  This is wrong because the draft is being significantly revised, including changing the assumed discount rate which will impact cost projections.  How can we depend on a staff recommendation that is based on a report that has critical information missing, such as:

a)     the cost of using Station H?
b)     how much the mill will charge us to purchase the treatment facility if they close permanently
c)     who is liable if the municipal sewage damages the mill’s treatment facility (ie if someone dumps oil or other waste into the sewage?)
d)    D&K reported in the teleconference on June 28 that if the mill were to close for an extended period, there is no possibility of holding effluent for more than a few days so the only option would be direct discharge of untreated effluent.   Under the co-treatment proposal, the mill would be the permit holder.  Who is liable for the fines for untreated discharge from the mill into Federal waters, and how much are they?

3)    It is procedurally defective in terms of public consultation for the Steering Committee to endorse a proposal before having the consideration and recommendation from the Joint Public & Technical Advisory Committee.

4)    The Steering Committee should not make any recommendations or endorsements before the Advisory Committee reviews and gives input on a FINAL report (ie not a draft with key variables as yet unknown).

5)    The City should be exploring the possibility that the money identified for co-treatment is NOT the only funding available.  For example Vancouver is pursuing Federal money for their LWMP based on new Federal regulations and the fact that they are releasing effluent into Federal waters.  The City also has not explored the possibility of Green Grants related to emissions that would be available because of the recently-signed Sustainability Charter.

6)    There has to date been no official or meaningful public consultation regarding the co-treatment option, and yet staff is recommending that decisions be made by the Steering Committee.

7)    The co-treatment option calls for burning of biosolids.  In some of the only public consultation held (an open house in 2004), 78% of citizens surveyed supported beneficial use of treated biosolids as a soil conditioner

If you can possibly attend this meeting, please go.  If not, please come to the Water Watch Coalition Public Meeting on Wednesday, July 21 at 7:30pm in the Cedar Room of the Recreation Complex.

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Wed. July 21, 7:30, Cedar Room, Complex

Our City has signed an Agreement in Principle to pay Catalyst to co-treat our sewage.  Upgrading our sewage treatment system is one of the biggest projects the city will ever undertake.   It involves millions of dollars.  But this deal is high risk.  Future city councils will not be able to change the agreement.  Our wastewater system is a critical public resource.

Yet taxpayers have not been asked what they think about it.

The Powell River Water Watch Coalition is holding a public meeting to discuss the future of wastewater in Powell River.

some pre-meeting Water Watch videos will be shown starting at 7 pm, and some snacks will be shared after the meeting.

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Many people have already signed the petitions we have been circulating at our public information tables, and we have expanded our petition online.  Please take a moment now to sign it and support public control of our water resources.

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