image

Press Centre

Municipal candidates show strong support for sewage treatment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Time for senior governments to live up to promises
VICTORIA, BC Nov 17, 2011

An overwhelming majority of responding Capital Regional District (CRD) Core Area candidates running in the upcoming municipal elections have pledged support for sewage treatment if elected, according to a survey recently conducted by the Georgia Strait Alliance and T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation.

Complete survey details can be found at: http://www.georgiastrait.org/?q=node/1026

“It’s heartening to see ongoing leadership coming from municipal candidates and their clear desire to bring sewage treatment to the region,” said Christianne Wilhelmson of the Georgia Strait Alliance. “The daily discharge of toxins and pathogens into our oceans is harmful and it’s clear that candidates for local government want to be part of bringing an end to this pollution,” she added.

Though some in the community oppose sewage treatment, in 2006 a “Blue Ribbon Panel” of independent science experts hired by the CRD answered the question: does Victoria need sewage treatment?  Though the terms of reference limited their scope, they still reported back YES that the region must treat its sewage, identifying scientific risk, community values and the regulatory regime all supporting treatment. (Full report: http://www.victoriasewagealliance.org/SETACCRDFinalReport.pdf

“The support from the local community for sewage treatment is obvious. There has been some great work put into this plan, there is still plenty of room for innovative thinking. It is now time for both senior governments to come good on their promises to help fund this project” said Jim McIsaac of the T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation.

The CRD pumps over 130 million litres a day of raw sewage into local waters and the prevailing current at the outfall takes the sewage east into Haro Strait towards the US Gulf Islands.  In independent tests under the Federal Fisheries Act, Victoria’s sewage has been shown to be acutely toxic to fish, killing them within 20 minutes. With national regulations mandating secondary sewage treatment to become final in the spring of 2012, the Core Area will have to have a system up and running before 2020.

Formed in 1990, Georgia Strait Alliance (www.GeorgiaStrait.org) is the only citizens' group working to protect and restore the marine environment and promote the sustainability of Georgia Strait, its adjoining waters and communities, the place where 70% of British Columbians live, work and play.

Formed in 1981 by commercial fishermen, the T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation (www.BuckSuzuki.org )  works to protect habitat, prevent pollution and promote sustainable fisheries.

-30 -

For more information:

Christianne Wilhelmson, Executive Director, Georgia Strait Alliance: cell 604 862 - 7579

Jim McIsaac, Director of Sustainability, T. Buck Suzuki Foundation: office 250-360-1398