The Seaterra program will not be continuing with the proposed wastewater treatment plant at McLoughlin Point in Victoria, British Columbia, due to decisions last week made by Minister of Environment Mary Polak and Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Coralee Oakes.

The wastewater treatment facility was to be built under the program in order to bring the region into compliance with federal and provincial sewage treatment regulations, and implement the core area liquid waste management plan.

“It is regrettable that the province has made this decision,” said Capital Regional District (CRD) board chair Alastair Bryson. “Our funding agreements with the federal and provincial governments are contingent on the implementation of this plan.”

The Seaterra program will provide preliminary, primary, and secondary wastewater treatment for the Greater Victoria area, ensuring the environmental health of the region and phasing out the release of untreated wastewater into the Juan de Fuca strait by 2018.

Under the direction of the province, the CRD developed a program for McLoughlin Point that they believe would have adequately met the needs of core area residents for several decades at the lowest cost to taxpayers. An independent commission to deliver the main program components, as well as a funding agreement, had already been determined.

“Federal funding requires a satisfactory outcome that meets the regulation,” said Geoff Young, chair of the core area liquid waste management committee. “It is unfortunate that the provincial government would order, agree to fund, and then not assist us as they could in carrying out this program.”

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At this time, it is unclear whether the provincial government’s decision to drop the project will jeopardize federal funding or not.

– Katie Yantzi

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