What would the City of Courtenay and the Town of Comox do if they didn’t have a convenient ocean to dump their contaminated sewage into?

Imagine, a homey feel at the Courtenay Air Park Treatment Plant (CAPTP). A place suitable to host wedding receptions and city galas.

All the pipes are in place to have the sewage flow down hill to this site. Thousands of cubic meters of fresh recycled water to water city boulevards, farm land and local lawns ending watering restrictions. Attach a bio-gas plant and bingo thousands of yards of clean soil for local farms and gardens after the natural gas has been captured and piped into Fortis main line to heat our homes and even power the local bus line.

How to pay for this? By using recycled water to irrigate lawns, wash cars and flush toilets, the demand for purified drinking water would drop by 80 percent. The proposed $70 million water purification plant could be dropped to $20 million, giving $50 million to CAPTP. The $90 million for the South Courtenay sewer project could go into CAPTP. The $35 million plus, not spent on trying to fix up the nine kilometers of pipes and pump stations pushing the sewage out to sea.

And then there is the future. Numbers like $200 million to replace the decaying 40-year-old Brent road so- called treatment plant and then there is the issue of replacing the existing pipeline running along the foreshore of Dyke Road. The only option is to go over land making the new high pressure pump station and pipe line through Croteau Beach redundant.

Add it up and it looks like over the next two decades water and water treatment will cost the tax payer something like $350 million. Prices always go up. Doing a proper job now will cost less than in the future and why not get in on some of that federal infrastructure money being offered by the guy with good hair?

I don’t think the people of the valley want to hold their heads in shame by comparing the dark age technology used in Victoria to treat their sewage even if it does look homey. I feel sick when I think of the quagmire of future costs that CVRD senior engineer Mark Rutten is leading the sewer commissioners into … just because we have a convenient ocean near by.

AGNUS RAMSEY

Comox

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