One of the most challenging public consultation projects in North America is Victoria’s Capital Regional District sewage treatment planning process. Following nearly four decades of attempts, the CRD is being mandated by federal regulations to have sewage treatment for the region in place by 2020.
A 2014 plan with multi-level government funding in place was derailed due to a number of regional governance and public involvement challenges.
Public Assembly was hired by the CRD in March 2015 to begin to re-engage the public in finding a site, treatment options and to rebuild trust in the institutions governing and planning this $700 million dollar project. Elected directors of the CRD, including Chair Lisa Helps, were stewards of the process, alongside CRD and regional chief administrative officers. In an 11-week consultation process, using Public Assembly’s team of facilitators, designers and engineers, we were able to engage 3,500 residents in a combination of events, meetings and online surveys. We were able to bring a series of strong recommendations to the decision-makers that were shaped with public involvement. Ongoing phases of public consultation continue.