Saturday, July 3, 2010

CRD Open House in Esquimalt

CRD Open House on McLoughlin Point July 6 and July 8

When: Tuesday July 6 and Thursday July 8, 2010, 3 to 8 p.m.

Where: Esquimalt Council Chambers, 1229 Esquimalt Road

Dear Esquimalt friends and residents,

I'd like to personally urge you to attend one of the CRD public engagement sessions being held next week. While this is in Council Chambers, it is a CRD staff event. It will be an informal, drop-in, open house type format. You could bring your kids along with you if you don't have a babysitter. The CRD will have some information for you to look at and a spot for you to comment.

It may feel like I'm always asking you to attend something, or fill out a survey or provide some feedback. I am. However, this time, I'm also asking for your help. You may have read recent articles in which I was quoted as saying that I felt "blindsided". That is correct. A dramatic change in the Sewage Treatment plan from a distributed model (several smaller locations) to one centralized plant (McLoughlin Point) was made behind closed doors at the CRD with absolutely no input from Councils or their communities. I'm further quoted in the article saying that "we've tried to make our voices heard in every way possible." This is also true. Your Esquimalt Council has been proactive and strong on this issue. I also believe that we have some of the best informed, most articulate residents in this region. The Sewage Treatment Action Group and other residents have been involved and leading community engagement in Esquimalt. Unfortunately, we've all been shut out of the discussions. The article, which quotes several of your Council, is available here: I am asking for your help and your voice.

The volume and intensity of the emails and phone calls I have received this month about the CRD's Sewage Treatment Plans has given me some good insight into how many of you are feeling. You have well thought out and legitimate concerns. You have a passion for our community. I'm asking you to come and let the CRD know. If you cannot attend a public engagement session, you can send in some written feedback here: and here:

The CRD's information on this issue can be found here: Some local editorials and coverage can be found here: Please take a few moments this week to share your concerns and ideas about this issue.

Lastly, I want to address some of the feelings I've heard this week. Many of you have contacted me and asked, "what is the point?", "the decision has already been made" etc. Many of you have been working on this issue for years longer than I have and you're exhausted. I can only thank you for your commitment and your endurance...and ask for more. All I offer you in return is the inspiration I take from you. This week, I am looking to the roof of the Archie Browning Sports Centre and remembering a time, just three years ago, when we were told that "it needed to close" and "there was no other way and no time to consult you". With the grant money
the community insisted we pursue, the roof is being fixed and the facility will be enjoyed for years to come. That roof (and all the cool happenings inside like Team China curling, the Curling Classic, the upcoming Skate Canada Nationals...) are the direct result of your public input. Three years ago, we were told a decision had already been made...and we came out to say it was unacceptable. The Archie Browning Sports Centre will always be a reminder to me, that we CAN make change happen.

Thank you so much,
Ali Gaul