Archive for July, 2011

The following presentation was made to Powell River City Council on Thursday, July 21, 2011 by Judy Watts for the Powell River Water Watch Coalition.  After the presentation, there was much discussion with fervent assurances that no smelly treatment plant of any kind would be built (despite clear information given at a previous meeting by Stogre that the city was definitely planning an open activated sludge plant and it would not be covered, and it would have some smell), and much interest in looking into the new membrane technology to see if the Westview plant could be retrofitted.  The saga continues.

Delegation to the COTW:  Thursday 21 July 2011, by Powell River Water Watch

As I know you have all done, the members of PR Water Watch have also read all the city’s previous reports on LWMP, talked to people and read pertinent literature.

At first, I for one, was prepared to consider the co-treatment option since the mill had an existing treatment plant.  However, the devil is in the detail – and in questionable planning.  There was that untenable plan to use the old clarifier which should never have been considered, and there are so many unanswered questions and unanswerable questions such as the viability of the mill, that I now support Powell River Water Watch in opposing this option.

The other option on the table, a single consolidated treatment plant is equally questionable.  Consider the cost and disruption of a pipeline to the plant.  Consider the switch of location of the plant from the Ministry approved Waste Transfer Site to Townsite with NO public consultation.  Consider the use of open activated sludge technology – a 19th century secondary level technology, also unfortunately already approved by the Ministry.

As the chairperson of the Townsite Ratepayers Association, I cannot support such obnoxious technology so close to valued homes – indeed I cannot support this technology close enough to homes in any part of the city that would be affected by the inevitable smell.

As a property taxpayer, however, I come to my greatest concern.  Given information gained from city staff and from recent literature on membrane technology, I must absolutely question the decision to pull down the Westview plant, a decision made over 7 years ago.  It is a tertiary level treatment plant that with upgrading most likely can function effectively.  While it may not be in the most ideal location it is there now.  There can be no business, financial nor environmental logic in spending tax payers’ money to tear down a 12 year old tertiary level facility that cost somewhere around $8 million to build, and on which we still owe $500,000, and to spend more tax payers’ money to replace it with a retrograde secondary level treatment facility!  This is not good business nor innovation and does not deserve funding from an innovation fund.

What is innovative would be to retrofit the existing Westview plant including use of updated membranes,  so that it works effectively, and then in due course to build a small, tertiary level plant in Townsite with sustainable technology that will make use of the byproducts of the plant.  This option would qualify as innovative for funding purposes. This would also be a positive response to “…the desire that the City explore some of the more innovative solutions being used around the world to both reduce the footprint, impacts and costs of building a facility” (quote from the facilitator’s report from the public consultation, paid for with my tax money.

Will this Council take on a business-like approach and review information readily available on line about innovations and improvements in membrane technology, and will this Council hire its own knowledgeable consultant to advise on membrane technology BEFORE making any further decisions?

Your response?

Up to now Council has clearly not been concerned about following the Ministry guidelines for LWM planning, nor following proper council procedure:

– it is ignoring the already approved Phase 2 decision to build a consolidated plant in the Waste Transfer Site.  Will Council be re-doing Phase 2 for Ministry approval of a different site?

– it has ignored the strong message from the public received through its own consultations and through the petition it received, and made a decision for co-treatment.  Is this the “done deal” the consultation facilitator suggested?

– it has made conflicting motions, first to make no decision until AFTER a town hall meeting (and directed staff to make a plan for that meeting which staff ignored and did not do), and then a motion to decide for the “phased option” with co-treatment BEFORE holding a town hall meeting.

Will Council honour its first or its second motion?  Will Council hold staff to account?

Judy Watts
Chairperson, Townsite Ratepayers Association
– for Powell River Water Watch


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