You may have heard that the only reason I am running for mayor is to prevent a new sewage treatment facility on the old golf club lands. When I first heard this from a resident on Joyce Avenue I wrote a Viewpoint article in the Peak (link below).
I support the need to meet the new federal effluent regulations. However, it is equally important to that we do not hamstring the City with enormous debt. My interest in the location and technology proposed for a new waste treatment plant is based solely on the fact that this would be the most significant capital expenditure in the history of Powell River. To date the City has not provided sufficient information to reassure residents with a solid understanding of environmental issues, technology and economics that a good decision will be made. 20 Years ago Council approved the upgrading of the Westview sewage treatment plant built in the 70’s. This was to take care of the City’s waste treatment until 2030 or 2040. It has been a financial and environmental failure. We do not want to make the same mistake again. The current $70,000,000 price tag for a new treatment plant is based on a Class C estimate. The rating system of project estimates are from a Class A (the most reliable) to Class D (the least reliable). The final capital costs of the project, based on the frequency of cost overruns for similar projects, could easily end up at over $100,000,000. Furthermore the City will not know what grants they might receive from the Provincial or Federal governments until 2019.
The suggestion that I would like to shut down the mill persists. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am as committed as anyone could be to the mill. I have been in pulp and paper mills in Canada, the US and Australia and co-led a federal government pulp and paper industry mission to Europe to promote Canada’s paper industry. I was an adjunct faculty member in the Faculty of Forestry at UBC where I collaborated with the Pulp and Paper Research Institute of Canada. This experience gives me a solid understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing the mill in Powell River and allows me to be more than just committed as I can use my experience in ways that someone without my background cannot.