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Letters: In response to critics of outfall
ighly treated wastewater was part of the plan when Silver Spray was re-zoned in 2002, well before we joined the municipality of Sooke. For years many East Sooke residents have enjoyed an unlimited water supply, and vastly improved fire protection, because we paid to pipe water across the harbour as part of that deal.
Environmental studies that began in 2004 prove there will be no harm to the receiving environment. Since then technology has only improved. We will now be using what the United Nations Industrial Development Organization calls “State-of-the-art... an important environmental process revolution.” The California Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering rates it as “the highest ranked biological treatment system out of almost seventy technologies reviewed.”
This new wastewater treatment utility is subject to legally binding regulations, financial security and regular monitoring oversight to ensure it meets or exceeds environmental controls. The finished product is filtered so clear it looks like window glass, and we plan to re-cycle much of it for landscape irrigation in the future.
This small outfall has already been approved by the Ministry of Environment, after exhaustive study that commenced 10 years ago. All we are seeking now is a crown lease to lay the pipe along the seabed, out 1,000 feet to a pre-approved location 120’ deep. Here the flow of ocean currents is so strong that one of the study teams had a hard time keeping up with drogue floats being tracked with GPS.
This facility is required to properly serve an eco-tourism destination resort that can provide an assortment of accommodation, jobs and amenities. In addition, the US-based Center for Whale Research is opening an office at SookePoint. They care about protecting the Southern Resident Killer Whale habitat, and plan to affix hydrophones along part of the pipe to monitor whale activity and broadcast whale-song via local wifi.
The SookePoint Resort is on the SW Tip of Canada. SookePoint will attract a great number of visitors and guests. With an emphasis on a front-row oceanfront experience, eco-tourism activities and “yacht suite” accommodations, it is obviously in our best interest to vigorously protect all the sea and wildlife that surrounds us. We will do all we can to preserve it. We also have the right to live and work here.
The municipality of Sooke already has a much larger outfall in place. A 2008 report confirmed that “video footage taken where the outfall pipe terminates illustrates an environment which looks pristine.” While it may be possible to run a raw sewage line across the harbour to plug in there, why not use science and technology to eliminate that risk? On the other side of us, the Beecher Bay First Nation has a far bigger outfall already in place, presumably to serve 800 homes in the proposed new town of Spirit Bay.
Both of the marine outfalls that flank us are designed for substantially greater capacity than the SookePoint Destination Resort. And the Destination Resort will not be exposed to the same kind of risk from commercial contaminants, chemicals and storm drains that sometimes create problems for larger facilities.
It has been proven that today’s wastewater treatment plants offer a superior solution. Is there really any reason why the residents of Sooke and East Sooke’s Spirit Bay can connect to large ocean outfall pipes, while SookePoint shouldn’t have a small one?