Reference Panel: Response to Board’s Delay Approving Metro’s Sewage Plan


On November 27th, the Metro Vancouver Board of Directors failed to approve the region’s Liquid Waste Management Plan.  This after the Waste Management Committee had shown great leadership by approving the plan, with the amendment that both primary treatment plants (Iona and Lions Gate) should be upgraded to a minimum of secondary by 2020.

In response to the Board’s delay, the volunteer Reference Panel presented its case for upgrading both plants by 2020 to the Metro Vancouver Finance Committee on January 29, 2010.  Read our comments that will also be forwarded to Metro Vancouver’s Board of Directors.  No final decision has been made, as the issue is once again on the agenda for the Committee’s April meeting.

Also, please add your voice to those asking the Federal government to provide financial support for Metro Vancouver’s sewage treatment upgrades. The Federal government is financially supporting Victoria’s sewage treatment plans, and they should be doing the same for Metro Vancouver.

Read about the strategy and draft national regulations that will mandate these treatment upgrades. 

Panel makes 19 recommendations to improve Metro Vancouver’s Liquid Waste Management Plan 

Appointed by the Metro Vancouver Regional Board in April 2008 to provide independent review and recommendations on the Liquid Waste Management Plan update, the Liquid Waste Management Reference Panel is a community advisory group consisting of members with expert knowledge and relevant experience in liquid waste/resource and rainwater management.

On June 10th, the Reference Panel presented the Metro Vancouver Waste Management Committee with specific and detailed feedback.  The overall assessment was that the content in the Draft Plan is strong, but more integration of the vision in the actions is still needed for the goals to be achieved. 

On the basis of their comprehensive review, they concluded that:

  • The Draft Plan is moving the region in the right direction to achieve the Sustainable Region Vision. However there is a need for stronger commitments in some areas in order to see the Plan realize its vision.
  • The Draft Plan can be characterized as a transition plan that, over time, will shift the region from the current practice of managing waste to one that values all its resources.

Get It Right

The strategies and actions in the Plan will have an impact on Metro Vancouver’s sustainability for generations to come. Therefore, this plan must more clearly state "this is what we want our region to look like, and this is how we will get there".  The plan will have succeeded only when we have healthy urban streams, a healthy Fraser River and a healthy Georgia Strait in which salmon and whales thrive and our children and grand-children can recreate safely.

This vison for our region can only be achieved by managing sewage and rainwater as resources, not waste.

The current LWMP was approved in 2002. Today, there is an even greater focus on making sustainability principles real and addressing the impacts of climate change. Therefore, this updated Plan is an opportunity for Metro Vancouver to "get it right", by promoting public and municipal leadership to take advantage of this opportunity.

Reference Panel’s complete Interim Report.

Reference Panel’s Final Report – July 10, 2009

Learn more about our Metro Vancouver sewage campaign