The CRD has now identified the three possible locations for the Saanich East/Oak Bay North sewage treatment plant and one of them is in Oak Bay, despite the fact that the only public consultations this month are in Saanich. Two of these properties are on UVic land, at opposite corners of the campus.
The site in Oak Bay is the old orchard on Cedar Hill X Rd near Crestview Rd as can be seen on the right. This is a part of UVic and is a very common dog walking site. I have no idea how much of the site they are planning to use or if the orchard will remain, but I expect at least some of that information will be at the upcoming public consultations. I wonder what Citizen Canine will say about the possibility of using this location.
The second site on UVic lands is near McCoy Road in the fields there. Again, I have no idea how much space they are going to take, but I sincerely hope that they don’t remove the trail that connects to the end of McCoy Road. That is a great biking and walking connection to avoid having to go all the way down to the corner of McKenzie Ave. and Gordon Head Rd.
The last site is the previously mentioned lands in Haro Woods that the CRD purchased last year. I don’t know exactly where in Haro Woods, as outlined in yellow in the map on the right, but I know that UVic owns a portion as well. There isn’t much more to say about this, except that it is one of the few pieces of relatively intact forest left in the area. Also, there is a large field on Queen Alexandria lands just across the road. In all the years I have been going up that direction, as I used to go to school at Frank Hobbs elementary, that field has been sitting largely empty. Why not use it?
Haro Woods, because it has been previously announced, has already attracted a lot of attention. There is a Save Haro Woods website, and the Cadboro Bay Residents Association has come out strongly against this site as well, asking for it be turned into a park.
There are two open houses coming up, on the 16th at Gordon Head United Church and the 17th at Cadboro Bay United Church. Both of those forums run 3pm to 8pm. There is also neighbourhood workshop that requires pre-registration on the 22nd of June between 6:30pm and 9pm at the Queenswood Centre. This information and more can be seen on the wasterwatermadeclear’s public forums page. There is also a report from the CRD’s contractor about the feedback from the previous public forums and the principles used in deciding a location.
Personally, I like none of these sites, but I think the orchard site is probably least worst, provided the orchard itself survives and public access for walking dogs is preserved. However, if they do choose the Haro Woods site, they are really setting themselves up to fail. I think we will see UVic students and other environmental activists chaining themselves to equipment and tree sitting, potentially delaying the project months. I almost wonder if this is why the other two spots have just appeared, to avoid that very scenario.