Province intervenes on Victoria sewage treatment

Media Release: July 21, 2006

Environmental groups praise Environment Minister

VICTORIA, BC – Environmental groups are delighted with the strong message sent today by BC’s Minister of Environment Barry Penner to the Capital Regional District (CRD) concerning the CRD’s inadequate sewage treatment. Sierra Legal Defence Fund, Georgia Strait Alliance and T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation commend Minister Penner for directing the CRD to provide the provincial government with a detailed plan outlining how the CRD will implement sewage treatment by June 30, 2007.

“After decades of polluting the marine environment with untreated sewage, this is a significant step forward in protecting the health of our marine environment,” said Christianne Wilhelmson, Program Coordinator for the Georgia Strait Alliance. “We encourage the CRD to work with the Environment Ministry and local communities to find the best sewage treatment solution for the region.”

The environmental groups are encouraged that Minister Penner wants the CRD to consider and adopt cutting-edge, new technologies for sewage treatment. However, they hope the Minister will give specific directions to the CRD on the necessary level of sewage treatment.

“We are very optimistic that Minister Penner will push the CRD to implement secondary sewage treatment, in accordance with the proposed national standards” commented Jim McIsaac, Clean Water Director with T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation.

“Minister Penner is moving in the right direction. If he requires the CRD to implement secondary sewage treatment, then we will no longer have serious concerns that the CRD is violating the federal Fisheries Act,” said Lara Tessaro, Staff Lawyer at Sierra Legal Defence Fund.

Sierra Legal, T Buck Suzuki, and Georgia Strait Alliance anxiously await a response to the Minister’s direction from Alan Lowe, Victoria Mayor and Chair of the CRD. If the CRD acts quickly, secondary sewage treatment could become a reality for the Region by 2010.

See Province’s news release.