Archive for March, 2011

The Powell River Watch Coalition is planning a major push to get over 1,000 names on a petition against the privatization of our sewage treatment, and we need your help.


to organize our petition against co-treatment deal

Tuesday, April 5, 7:00 p.m.

The Rodmay Hotel – Rainbow Room



Since Water Watch’s February 22 public meeting a number of significant developments have taken place – in part because of the meeting and its big turnout. We think that the councilors for the first time actually understood that a lot of people – voters – are really concerned about this ill-considered privatization of our sewage treatment system.



  1. City staff have indicated that the decision on what direction to go on co-treatment will be made sometime in June.
  2. The decision by the UBCM about Powell River’s application for funding (from the Innovation Fund) will also be made sometime in June.
  3. The decision making process has changed.  Til February, there were several options on the table (though the council made it clear it’s preference was co-treatment with Catalyst). The decision was to be guided by a “matrix” of factors – economic, social, technical, environmental – determined by the Joint Advisory Committee.

    Now, the matrix has been set aside and the decision will be between two options: 1) co-treatment and 2) a publicly owned, consolidated plant.

  4. If co-treatment is rejected the city will look exclusively at a publicly owned consolidated plant.
  5. The public consultation meetings will take place in May. But the format of these meetings is now in question. Instead of being able to question city councilors about the issues, the city has stated it wants the Joint Advisory Committee members to answer questions – dodging responsibility for what will be their decision.

    Secondly, the format will not allow everyone to hear all the questions and  answers.  There will not be a single stage with city councilors or staff answering questions from the whole audience.  People will be going to 30 separate tables, some of which will be chaired by members of the Advisory committee.



After our public meeting on Feb 22nd we decided that we should be accepting individual members as well as organizational members. If you wish to be a member just email us at: prwaterwatch@gmail.com and put “individual membership” in the subject line.


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The Powell River Water Watch Coalition has launched a brand new petition that is available for online signature:


Dear Powell River City Council:

As citizens of Powell River we are deeply concerned about the plan to have Catalyst “co-treat” city sewage.

We object to the city giving up control over this vital public service; putting the city at particular risk if the mill closes; storing raw sewage in the mill’s abandoned primary clarifier so close to houses; and taking an environmental step backwards to a lower standard of treatment.

Therefore, we the undersigned, citizens of Powell River, petition the Powell River City Council to reject the co-treatment proposal and pursue a publicly owned plant with effective odour control.

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Great political ‘toon by Wendy Brown in this week’s Peak.

21st Century Alchemy in Powell River

(posted with permission of the artist and our thanks)

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Great letter!

This letter from George & Jan Orchiston was sent to the City of Powell River with cc to the Water Watch Coalition, and we thought it needed to be shared further.  It is reprinted here with their permission and our thanks 🙂
February 26, 2011

To whom it may concern:

Re: The City of Powell River’s Liquid Waste Management Plan And it’s process in selecting the Co-Treatment Option with Catalyst Paper.

The subject of the City’s Liquid Waste Management Plan (LWMP) has been alive for several years now and no doubt many employees, staff and committee members have worked long and hard on a potential solution and we appreciate their effort. However we are presently deeply troubled with the process that City Council has now employed in this matter.

In April of 2010, an Agreement in Principle, (AIP) was reached between Catalyst Paper and the City of Powell River after a dispute over that company’s industrial taxes assessed by the City. The AIP accommodates the privatization of the treatment by Catalyst Paper of the City’s wastewater. No approval of this AIP has been sought or obtained from the citizens of Powell River by our City Council.

As of Jan. 6th. 2011, the Liquid Waste Management Steering Committee, which is made up of among others, several Council members, discussed “ A Public Consultation Plan” regarding the wastewater treatment issue. At this point in time, a decision has not been made by the City of Powell River regarding the method of waste treatment or location.

On January 19th. 2011, the Liquid Waste Management Advisory Committee met and no final recommendation from that body regarding the method of wastewater treatment or location was determined.

On February 3rd. 2011, Mr. Geoff Allan, a private facilitator, attended the Liquid Waste Management Steering Committee meeting to discuss a Public Consultation Plan for the Liquid Waste Management Plan. Certain Councilors and staff were at this meeting. After consideration of Mr. Allan’s input, the Steering Committee passed a motion directing staff to develop a comprehensive community consultation process in advance of site selection.

On February 9th. 2011 the City of Powell River website advises that it is still considering four Liquid Waste Management options and that one of those options is Co-Treatment with Catalyst Paper.  As of this date, the citizens of Powell River have not been asked to participate in a Comprehensive Community Consultation Process nor has their approval of any final decision regarding a Liquid Waste Management proposal been sought.

Suddenly the City of Powell River and we assume with the approval of the majority of Councilors, has made an Application For Funding in the amount of $7,270,000 to the Gas Tax Agreements General Strategic Priorities and Innovation Fund to build a Catalyst Paper/ Powell River Joint Wastewater Treatment Facility. This Application by the City of Powell River further states that,

“ it is expected that this Joint Venture with Catalyst Paper will start by April of 2011 and be completed by October 2012.”

This decision by the Council of the City of Powell River to unilaterally select the Co-Treatment Option with Catalyst Paper without conducting a Comprehensive Community Consultation Process in advance of any site selection and further, it’s failure to obtain the electors approval is improper and may in fact be illegal.

We would encourage the Powell River City Council to rescind its decision in this matter and follow the spirit of the motion adopted by its Liquid Waste Management Steering Committee,

“ to develop a Comprehensive Community Consultation Process in advance of site selection”

All of which is respectfully submitted,

Yours Sincerely

George and Jan Orchiston

Powell River, B.C.

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