Bowser residents opposing the proposed sewage pipeline into the Salish Sea have formed the Area H Rate Payers and Residents Association to serve as a unified voice for members to raise their environmental concerns to the Regional District of Nanaimo.
The group is currently working on the Stop Bowser Ocean Sewage campaign. Its members want the RDN to seriously look at a ground disposal option instead of the proposed marine outfall for the $10.7 million Bowser Village Centre Wastewater Project.
The marine outfall would consist of a pipeline, 2.3 kilometres in length, to be laid offshore from the Noonday Road public beach access site, where treated sewage effluent will be discharged into the Salish Sea.
The association said it believes this will destroy the pristine waters and shore, as well as severely impact the shellfish businesses in the area.
Despite the concerns of the residents, the RDN board decided to move ahead with the project, which already received $7.6 million from the provincial Clean Water and Wastewater fund. The sewage system will serve only 99 parcel owners from the village centre, and not those residents living outside the service area.
“The RDN are doing this even though they have stated that sewage treated to the secondary level will indeed add to the pollution of the Salish Sea and beaches, since it will still contain a long list of nutrients, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and pathogenic organisms,” the association said in a newsletter that was disseminated to residents in Bowser.
“It is interesting to note that although the current BVC sewage plan provides for only 300 hook-ups, the pipeline will be built to handle many times the capacity required for those, a fact which signals the inevitable expansion of the sewer service, bringing with it significant adverse socioeconomic and environmental health effects.”
The association is inviting Bowser residents to become a member and join the fight against the sewage outfall into the ocean. People can go to sosbowser.ca for membership forms and news.
Organizers are encouraging people to attend the RDN open house meetings to voice their concerns. The first meeting was held last night and another one is scheduled for today, Oct. 19, at the Lighthouse Community Centre, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.