Further thoughts from the Uplands sewage meeting

As I (and others) have reported, Oak Bay Council ultimately rejected the low-pressure gravity system, but unlike the Oak Bay News and Times Colonist inferred, many of the councillors didn’t so much reject the low-pressure system as defer the question until further consultation with the residents, both in and out of the Uplands, could be done.

Specifically Councillors Braithwaite, Copley and Ney never mentioned what system they preferred, with Ney saying they need to “lead by following” and Braithwaite having the lovely quote about gas lights being the gold standard once, which she followed with “to me the question is not if we abandon gravity systems but when.” She even noted that when electric lights came in, people protested the removal of the gas lights, despite the electric system being a clear improvement.

So where does that leave Oak Bay? On the books is still the approved plan for a 50-year phased roll-out of a new storm sewer (page 3 of this backgrounder – PDF). Beyond that, the giant unknown right now is the fate of the federal and provincial governments funding for the low-pressure system. Residents of Oak Bay need to keep asking council some hard questions about how the coming Uplands system is going to be funded and what sort of system it is going to be. As for whether or not we will get a referendum, as Councillor Jensen suggested in the a Times Colonist story, I suspect that depends on if we get a few champions of such a vote, much as the City of Victoria had with the johnsonstreetbridge.org people.