The federal government announced today they will finally be releasing infrastructure money to Victoria for the construction of new sewage treatment facilities.
The beautiful waters of Juan de Fuca Strait in the Pacific Northwest may soon be spared the lumpy effluent that has been spewing from the Vancouver Island Capital Regional District’s woefully lacking sewage system for years. The federal government announced today its commitment to a cost-sharing agreement to build proposed $782 million sewage treatment facilities.
Finally cleaning up
This long-awaited financial commitment will be just part of the money required to begin construction on the new system which is intended to bring the region’s infrastructure into compliance with new federal environmental standards for waste-water treatment systems soon to be imposed. It will also finally bring it into compliance with BC provincial guidelines imposed in 2006.
The remainder of the funding will come from the BC provincial government and the Capital Regional District as part of a three-way partnership.
The new facilities include a liquids-only treatment plant; a new biosolids digestion facility to which the leftover sludge will be piped, and underground storage tanks to be used during storm events.
Raw sewage was an embarrassment
The system, as it currently exists, sieves sewage through a 6 mm metal screen before it is piped, as is, about a kilometre into the Juan de Fuca Strait. This situation has embarrassed Victoria for decades.
Said a previous provincial environment minister (quoted in the news), “I’ve heard from people in the Middle East that say they don’t hear much about Canada very often, but one of the things they routinely hear about is that one of our capital cities dumps 40 billion litres of raw sewage into the ocean.”
Mr. Floatie, the man behind a movement
One local activist who is happy with the new funding announcement is Mr. Floatie, also known as James Skwarok, an elementary school teacher. Skwarok, dressed as a walking, talking piece of human feces, has been s the mascot for People Opposed to Outfall Pollution (POOP) since 2004. Mr. Floatie even attempted to run as a candidate for mayor of Victoria, but was disqualified after the city went to court to remove his name from the ballot.
Mr. Floatie finally gets better treatment
Said Mr. Floatie of the recent announcement, “I’m just happy they’ve gotten off the pot, and I’m really looking ahead to a bright future for Victoria. I’m just looking forward to having a home. I’ve always wanted a home.”