Tofino's district office hopes to have a wastewater treatment plant in place by 2020.

Tofino to treat sewage by 2020

Tofino has until the end of 2020 to stop flushing its raw sewage into the ocean.

Tofino has until the end of 2020 to stop flushing its raw sewage into the ocean and will pay for a plan to come in under deadline.

Tofino’s municipal council recently awarded a $100,434 contract to engineering consultants Opus Dayton Knight Ltd. to complete the third stage of a liquid waste management plan by 2017.

“The preparation of a Liquid Waste Management Plan is a significant undertaking for a municipality of any size. This is especially true for Tofino with a population of 2,000 and a relatively small tax-base,” read a report submitted by district CAO Bob MacPherson last month that recommended Tofino hire Opus Dayton Knight.

“Stage 3 of the LWMP will set out items such as method of treatment and approaches to financing the required work. Importantly, any borrowing for a waste treatment plant does not require approval of electors through voting or alternate means. It is therefore important that the development of the LWMP give the public opportunities to comment on plan content.”

The 2017 report is expected to include three possible locations for a wastewater treatment plant in Tofino and MacPherson said location would be one of four major factors to tackle along with collection, treatment, and cost.

“Those are the four things we’ll be wrestling with for, we think, until 2017,” he said.

“We’re going to be working with our advisory committee as well as the community to identify sites.”

Tofino is one of a handful of Vancouver Island communities without a wastewater treatment plant with seven southern municipalities—Victoria, Oak Bay, Saanich, Langford, Colwood, Esquimalt and View Royal—also on the list.

Stage 1 of Tofino’s liquid waste management plan was submitted and approved in 2000 though this approval came with directions to include secondary treatment in future plans with options for fish processing wastewater, odour control, source control, outfall design and location, according to MacPherson’s report.

He added potential impacts to local marine resources were also flagged for further investigation.

Stage 2 was approved by the Ministry of Environment in 2005 and the ministry laid out the need for a Stage 3 plan that included: an environmental impact assessment, comprehensive monitoring, public consultation, and estimated costs.

Tofino submitted a Stage 3 plan in 2009 but this plan was returned to the district without approval from the ministry.

The district then hired Motherwell Engineering to scope out issues facing the Stage 3 plan but there are no records of Motherwell’s work being submitted to the ministry, according to MacPherson.

Near the end of last year, the district hired Blake Medlar—a former ministry staffer who had worked on Tofino’s Stage 1 and 2 plans—to help come up with a terms of reference for the Stage 3 work.

MacPherson stressed public consultation will be a key cog in Stage 3’s wheel.

“While engineering consultants will have a significant role to play in community consultation, it is anticipated that staff and Council will be most involved in working with the community in preparation of this plan,” he wrote.

MacPherson told the Westerly that as long as the plan lands on time in 2017, shovels should be in the ground by 2018 en route to a fully functional wastewater treatment plant by the 2020 deadline.

He acknowledged the deadline was not self-imposed but said Tofino would have looked to shore up its sewage anyway.

“We’ve been directed by the federal government, into whose waters we discharge waste presently, to stop discharging raw sewage by that date,” he said.

“Not withstanding that, I think there’s pretty universal buy-in in our community that treating our waste before discharging is the right thing to do.”

He said Opus Dayton Knight’s $100,434 plan would lay out expected costs and funding options for the plant including potential federal and provincial grants and private sector partnerships.

 

andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

 

Just Posted

Lack of security: why Vancouver Island food production is on the decline

Big Read: agriculture a big, expensive commitment as advocates push to make us more food secure

Earth Day 2018 focuses on ending plastic pollution

“Choose one easily changeable plastic item that you can work to eliminate from your day-to-day life.”

Tofino Shorebird Festival ready for flight

Annual event raises awareness of tiny travellers

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Trump says North Korea agreed to denuclearize. It hasn’t.

Trump is claiming that North Korea has agreed to “denuclearization” before his potential meeting with Kim, but that’s not the case.

Suspect in deadly Waffle House shooting still being sought

Police say Travis Reinking is the suspect in a shooting at a Waffle House restaurant Sunday in Nashville that left four people dead.

G7 warned of Russian threats to western democracy

Ukraine foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin warns G7 of Russian war against Western democracy

Royal baby: It’s a boy for Kate and William

The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to her third child, a boy weighing 8 pounds, 7 ounces.

Dix says B.C. remains focused on fighting youth overdoses in wake of teen’s death

Elliot Eurchuk’s parents say he died at his Oak Bay home after taking street drugs

Final week for ALR input

Public consultation process closes April 30

‘When everybody leaves: Counselling key to help Humboldt move on after bus crash

Dealing with life after a tragedy can be the worst part following a loss

Most Read