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The CRD to ask Esquimalt for sewage plant land rezoning

Nov 03 2012

The Capital Regional District will ask Esquimalt to rezone land for the planned McLoughlin Point sewage treatment plant, even though the province can overrule the municipality if it rejects rezoning.

Sewage treatment has been ordered by the provincial government, while federal regulations require the CRD to have a new waste-management system by 2020.

Esquimalt has fought putting the plant at McLoughlin Point ever since it was selected by the CRD two years ago.

Jack Hull, the general manager of the CRD's integrated water services who has been directing the sewage-treatment plan, said the regional district is required to go to Esquimalt with a rezoning application.

"We work with the municipality and go through their rezoning process. It's only if there's an impasse that you would go to the minister," he said.

B.C.'s Environment Management Act says the minister can approve all or parts of a waste-management plan, subject to public consultation.

In an emailed statement Friday, the ministry reaffirmed its commitment to sewage treatment, but did not say what the minister would do if Esquimalt turned down the rezoning plan for McLoughlin Point.

Esquimalt Mayor Barb Dejardins said the community consensus is that the sewage-treatment plant does not belong at McLoughlin Point. "I think it will be absolutely imperative for the CRD to do the best possible job in talking to the community and hearing from the community and taking that into consideration, not just presenting what is going to happen."

The CRD has not done a good job of consulting in Esquimalt in the past, she said.

Hull said the regional district is committed to public consultation and receiving input on all parts of the project.

A request for proposals has been issued by the CRD for a consultant to run a rezoning and consultation process, and to submit an application to amend Esquimalt's official community plan. The consulting cost is not yet known, Hull said.

The rezoning application is expected to be submitted before year's end and the consultant's work should be finished by mid-2013, the request for proposals said.

The rocky 1.33-hectare property at McLoughlin Point, the tip of Department of National Defence property in Esquimalt, is a former Imperial Oil Ltd. tank farm.

The regional district has an option to buy the property from Imperial Oil, Hull said. Its assessed value is $4.125 million.

How much the CRD would pay for the site is to be negotiated, he said. A meeting is scheduled this month with Imperial Oil to talk about the company's progress in cleaning up contamination on the property, a factor in the eventual price.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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