Saanich letters July 2: Stick to current sewage plan; Shelbourne plan needs better fix
I don’t want to see the Seaterra program bite the dust. There are a lot of crappy ideas flying back and forth, and I think it would be wise for all of us (not least the councillors of the region’s municipalities), to give our heads a shake.
First of all, thank you to Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard for staying sceptical on the distributed sewage model. At first glance, each of the municipalities having its own smaller sewage treatment plant is not at all different from each of us (for example), having our own, hypothetical smaller hospitals localized in each of the municipalities, each only available to meet the needs of the people who live in that area. It’s a fun idea, but when you realize that each of those separate hospitals needs to have its own emergency room, delivery room, complete surgical equipment, MRI machine, CAT scan machine, etc., the thought quickly goes south.
Like this, each prospective little treatment plant would need to be fully equipped with all the implications for sewage treatment; each doing exactly the same job on a smaller scale. This doesn’t make sense, and surely is not the most cost-effective course to take.
Why not stick with Seaterra’s original plan, having two larger, centralized plants doing treatment, merely on a larger volume of waste?
And to all of us living in the Capital Regional District who flush the toilet after using it: we pump 82 million litres of untreated sewage into the Juan de Fuca Strait every day. We are the only major city in Canada that doesn’t have treated sewage. The issue is not just poo: there is the huge environmental impact of heavy metals and pharmaceuticals, the remnants of drugs we take. Think about it: our waste doesn’t vaporize into thin air after we flush, instead it goes into the sea. All 360,000 of us have a responsibility to get sewage treatment in place as soon as possible. Let’s get behind Seaterra’s current plan and stop messing around.
Shelbourne plan needs better fix
Re: Shelbourne bike lanes need incentives: councillor (News, June 25)
If the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan (SVAP) had provided benefit and cost information on alternative street designs (two, three, four lanes) for all modes of transportation (cycling, driving, public transit, walking), then everyone would be better informed on which option could best improve cycling and driving safety, compared to present situation.
Now a Saanich councillor is considering incentives to developers, so Shelbourne Street could be widened without expropriation of adjacent private property, as this plan could gather dust on the shelf. The SVAP assumes that travel on Shelbourne for the next thirty years will be an extension of the past. Without separate cycling lanes on Shelbourne, safer driving and cycling can’t occur.
What the SVAP does not do is strategically enable a better future - including adaptation to climate change. The biggest part of a comprehensive solution to transportation problems on Shelbourne is better neighbourhoods - through better connectivity, density and mix of uses in all Saanich. Then more people will travel shorter distances, as it will be more convenient to work and play near our homes. With an aging population and rising gasoline costs, a strategic plan based on this emerging possibility is worthy of our careful consideration.