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Consolidated opposition

Majority of committee prefers joint treatment

A majority of liquid waste management steering committee members have rejected a recommendation to select consolidation as the City of Powell River’s sewage treatment option.

In a four-three split, committee members voted down a motion to proceed with an innovative, consolidated, publicly owned and operated treatment facility. Councillors Debbie Dee and Maggie Hathaway, as well as Ted Belyea, alternate director for Powell River Regional District Director Stan Gisborne, voted in favour of the motion. Councillors Dave Formosa, Chris McNaughton, Jim Palm and Aaron Pinch voted in opposition to it. Eugene Louie, Tla’Amin (Sliammon) First Nation’s representative on the steering committee, was absent.

About 50 people packed council chambers in city hall to witness the vote, which took place during the June 2 steering committee meeting. Judy Watts, a member of Powell River Water Watch, presented a petition with over 1,000 signatures opposing joint treatment.

On May 30, in a 10-to-one vote, members of the LWMP (liquid waste management plan) joint local-technical advisory committee passed a motion that recommended a publicly owned and operated consolidated plant as the preferred option for treating the city’s sewage. The city’s LWMP process is deciding whether to proceed with joint treatment, a proposal to have city sewage treated at Catalyst Paper Corporation’s Powell River division, or a stand-alone consolidated plant.

Steering committee members debated the motion for over an hour before the vote was taken.

After the vote on the first motion, McNaughton made another motion to recommend to council a joint treatment phased approach to liquid waste management and that council hold a public town hall meeting prior to making a final decision. That motion

was defeated, however.

Next, Dee made a motion to recommend to council that it hold a town hall meeting before making a decision on a wastewater treatment option. That motion passed and was referred to the council meeting held that evening, where it passed as well. Council passed a second motion directing staff to prepare a report about options on the town hall meeting. That report is expected to be on the agenda for the June 16 committee-of-the-whole meeting.

Council also passed another motion to remove Catalyst’s old clarifier as an option for treating the city’s sewage, either as a backup to joint treatment or as a stand-alone consolidated site.

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