Monday, November 10, 2014

Eric Pittman - Why I endorse Barb Desjardins for Mayor of Esquimalt

Why I endorse Mayor Barb Desjardins

Barb has led the fight against the CRD and their massive oversized sewage plant despite the odds. Esquimalt is one of the smallest municipalities in the CRD and as such, we only have one vote at the CRD table. For comparison, Saanich has 5 votes, Victoria has 4 and Oak Bay has 1. With regards to where regional sewage plants are located, it’s like watching 10 wolves and 1 sheep vote on what’s for dinner, it’s not a democracy. As a CRD director, Barb had to hold her tongue through In-Camera meetings and do things in accordance with the law so our community could escape the talons poised to grab us. With careful legal manoeuvring and positioning, it came down to the final hour and our last chance; the public forum for McLoughlin Point at the Archie Browning Center. With input from the public, she was given a mandate that allowed us to slam the door shut on the CRD in the only way possible. It was our last chance to do it legally and that only came about because of the careful steps Mayor Barb and council took to get us to the escape hatch.

But don’t be fooled, the battle was won, but not the war. If the political will in our community changes, the CRD could still build their plant here. The land is currently zoned for sewage treatment; the public forums were about a variance that was needed because the CRD could not build a large enough sewage plant for all seven core areas within the current zoning setbacks. But… if Mayor Barb is replaced, and the West Shore Waster Water Group, (Colwood, Langford, View Royal and Esquimalt) agree on sewage solutions for their jurisdictions, the total amount of sewage that needs to be processed for the remaining core area (Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay) gets reduced. That means that a smaller plant then originally envisioned would be needed and it could fit within the current zoning setbacks. That would mean that the CRD could still build the sewage plant at McLoughlin Point and, according to the law, a building permit would have to be issued. Esquimalt could fight it, but there would be less legal tools available to us. If the political will changes in our community, the door could be opened for the CRD to come back and make us the dumping grounds of the region and with it, totally wipe out any economic revitalization efforts for our community.  We need a Mayor with the knowledge, understanding, resolve and most importantly, experience, to save our community.

That’s Mayor Barb!
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