April 18, 2016 – While more than $63.4-million has been spent by taxpayers for the wastewater treatment program, there’s still no decision on a location or a shovel in the ground in sight.The Capital Regional District now puts total project expenditures at $63.4-million, numbers just released through a freedom of an information request. But those numbers are to August 2015, seven months ago.
“We are on the hook for $63.4-million so far – by now likely closer to $70-million – with little to show for it,” says Stan Bartlett, chair of Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria. “How much e-x-a-c-t-l-y will be eventually be coming out of the taxpayer’s pocket for wastewater treatment?”
“The mounting costs underscores the need for the Core Area Liquid Wastewater Management Committee (CALWMC) to be very prudent with taxpayer dollars and develop a culture of frugality. The debt clock is starting to click louder,” says Bartlett.
As part of the $63.4-million in expenditures, $31.7-million was spent (as of Aug. 31, 2015) on land purchases including the Viewfield Rd. ($17.4-million) and McLoughlin Point ($4.6-million) properties, and for legal fees, financing, committee expenses and contract termination.
Although the Viewfield property will not be part of any sewer treatment plan and may be sold by the CRD at some point, the McLoughlin Point land may be used as part of a wastewater treatment project.
It’s argued that several other expenditures to date could be factored into the growing wastewater treatment bill.
There’s likely a few million dollars was spent on staff time by about 18 regional, municipal, provincial and federal government bodies managing past and present sewage plant related agenda items and committees, according to the Association for Responsible and Environmentally Sustainable Sewage Treatment (ARESST).
ARESST ran a full-page advertisement opposing the sewer treatment project in the Times-Colonist Apr. 10 and charging project costs to date are closer to $100-million.
The cost of the two-plant option under consideration now for Clover and McLoughin/Macaulay Points is estimated by the CRD at $1.05-billion. But that number does not include the $63.4-million spent to date. It also does not include any estimate of future operating costs, and any potential cost overruns which are typically 30 per cent or more for mega-projects.
CRD Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee, Page 3, item 5.6, attachment: Schedule A Budget Update 31, :http://crd.ca.granicus.com/AgendaViewer.php?view_id=4&clip_id=646
Association for Responsible and Environmentally Sustainable Sewage Treatment (ARESST), www.arresst.ca
Freedom of Information Request to CRD regarding Core Area Waste Water Treatment Program project expenditures to Aug. 31, 2015, released Apr. 14, 2016. FOI Documents