This letter represents the concerns of over 60 households who signed a petition against the proposed Beech Street Sewage Pump Station.
We have expressed many times the serious health, safety, and fairness issues the sewage station would create. We now want to bring to your attention the democratic deficit represented by a shameful statement made recently by Kris LaRose of the Comox Valley Regional District. When Courtenay director Erik Eriksson asked why the neighbourhood directly affected by the station has no say regarding the issue, Mr. Larose said “Permission on behalf of the residents is not required for determining the alignment of the forcemain.” (Comox Valley Echo, February 24)
It has taken several years for the CVRD to reveal its approach to democracy. It has finally done so, via an audacious admission that when it makes important decisions involving taxpayers’ dollars, “permission on behalf of residents is not required”.
Mr. LaRose and members of the CVRD, we wish to remind you that the foundation of democracy is consultation with, and permission from, voters.
We have asked the CVRD over and over for proof that our safety and our wells would not be compromised. We have asked the CVRD over and over for an justification as to why those who would be affected by the sewage pump station have no say in where it is located. We have asked the CVRD over and over for an assessment of the impact of the station on people in the area, including children, the elderly, and individuals who are ill. The CVRD has not provided us with any of this information, and now we know why: it is because it believes it can act unilaterally, without considering how its decisions affect the people of the Comox Valley.
This democratic deficit extends to the other two levels of government. We have written to the federal Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan, regarding the recently announced Goose Spit sewage line but have not received a reply, despite following up in writing. We have also written to the provincial Minister of Health, Terry Lake, regarding the risks to our wells but he also has not replied to our letter or to correspondence asking for an update.
If the conduct of federal, provincial, and municipal officials on this issue reflects their approach to other matters, we should all be greatly concerned.