Letter to the Editor: Hill site is the wrong spot for sewage plant

The Queen Charlotte council has decided on a high hill site for the proposed sewage treatment plant. The engineers who surveyed the Queen Charlotte area for a suitable site picked four sites along the waterfront. They did not examine the hill site. Existing town sewer pipes run along Oceanview Drive.

Why pump all the sewage up a steep hill and then back down again? What if one of the pipes breaks? There would be a flood of sewage down the hill into the bay where orcas and sea lions gather in the spring. I am also told that the bay is a food-gathering area. If the referendum passes, the people paying taxes will have to cover the cost of this unnecessary project site. The expense involved is only estimated by the village council as no engineer has examined the project. The cost of clearing the land, putting in the road, running the hydro poles up to the site cannot be cheap. (We will pay for the building of the sewage plant wherever it is built). It would be better to continue the sewage pipes out to the Skidegate plant — which works just fine — and replacing the pipes through Skidegate would come in cheaper than the hill project. What did the engineering company say about going to Skidegate, or were they asked to look at that?

The council plans to later open a subdivision area around the proposed sewage plant. By the time the hill land is cleared for a subdivision, water and sewage and hydro installed, the cost of home sites will probably be too expensive for the average homebuyer. Would THEY want to live by the sewage plant?

If the February referendum passes, and a subdivision put in, taxpayers will again see taxes rise to cover those costs. Rents will go up to cover the homeowners’ raise in taxes.

What were our council members thinking? Not about the people who have to pay for this scheme.

Edith Bell

Queen Charlotte

Editor’s note: A 2013 engineering study looked at the option of linking the Queen Charlotte and Skidegate sewage treatment systems. Current estimates show joint treatment would likely cost about $14.2 million. Building a plant at one of the four sites examined in the 2010 engineering study are now likely to cost $6.8 million for Smith Point, $7.6 million for Central QC, $8.6 million for Skidegate Landing West (the site recommended by council), and $9.4 million for Skidegate Landing East.

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