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March 31, 2010

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Win for public sewage treatment in Victoria

VICTORIA—Residents of Greater Victoria have the option of choosing fully public sewage treatment and resource recovery.

On March 31, Capital Regional District (CRD) directors gave final approval to a business case that will see public operation in at least five, and possibly all seven communities mandated to develop sewage treatment.

“We know there is more to do, but at this stage it is important to acknowledge the residents and community activists who have made their voices heard in support of public sewage treatment, and the elected officials in the CRD who really listened,” said CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill.

CUPE National president Paul Moist said Victoria’s experience will motivate other communities. “Greater Victoria residents stood strong against pressure from senior levels of government to hand sewage treatment to private corporations, avoiding a costly and risky deal. The community's better off with public sewage treatment,” said Moist.

The three-year process for new sewage treatment began in July 2006 when the B.C. government directed the regional district to develop secondary sewage treatment for seven communities. Following this, the provincial government established a policy requiring the project to be reviewed as a potential P3 as a condition of receiving provincial capital funding.

Mauricio Navarette, president of CUPE 1978 which represents CRD workers, said that the work of CUPE’s ‘Keep it Public’ campaign, coordinated by Kim Manton, along with the Greater Victoria Water Watch Coalition and the Council of Canadians has gone a long way to ensuring public and environmentally sound sewage treatment.

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