Here in Greater Victoria, sewage treatment has long been a topic of conflict, and to this day we do not have comprehensive sewage treatment for the 350,000 or so residents that live here. There are 2 pipes that run over a kilometer out into the ocean pumping many million litres of screened, raw untreated sewage into the Pacific Ocean daily at Clover Point and McLoughlin Point. Untreated means pharmacueticals, solvents, chemicals (liquid plummer, paint, nail polish remover etc.), heavy metals, and whatever other good stuff the general public can’t be bothered with disposing of properly. All of these are present and unfiltered. In the last few years there has been a push to finally fix this, involving the federal, provincial, and municipal governments. It is a complex issue and there are good arguments on each side to consider; however, my point is not about sewage as much as it is about the ability of small groups that don’t represent the larger populace being able to dictate policy, with real world effects on us all.
Below are the approximate overall 2011 (and some 2008) voter turnouts in percentages for mayoral, council, and schoolboard positions in various communities across the greater Victoria region.
*Saanich 2008- 20.61% and in 2011-25.4%
Central Saanich 2001- 32.4%
North Saanich 2011- 41.5%
Esquimalt 2011- 18.0%
Victoria 2008-27% 2011-26.29%
Oak Bay 2011-42.0%
View Royal 2011-27.9%
None of these numbers reflect a real majority, just like with our provincial (fuck off Christie!) or federal (Harper’s continuing hatefuck of Canada) elections
So, to those of you who think that voting does nothing, explain to me how one individual municipality’s (Esquimalt) mayor, that didn’t receive a single vote out of the paltry 18% (2300 votes) of voters that bothered to turnout, was able to kaibosh a 750 million dollar regional plan to provide sewage treatment to hundreds of thousands of people. It’s an easier answer than you think. Vote and stop allowing people to control your life with almost none of the actual voters in their region’s support. The people you (don’t) vote in actually have a significant amount of power over decisions that are made on rivers, lakes, wetlands, estuaries, watersheds that affect entire ecosystems.
The Cowichan River weir/low flows crisis this past few years is entirely about who the rich landowners around Lake Cowichan vote for in the provincial, federal and municipal elections. They have a great deal of power because they vote for people who enforce their wishes for beachfront over the health of an entire famous aquatic ecosystem. If you want to change this kind of moral bankruptcy, start by voting against people who are running their own personal fiefdoms in your community with a meagre amount of real support.
BC municipal elections are held across BC on Nov.15/2014, whether you live here or not, if you care about salmonids or their larger environment please vote in your local municipal election.
*I used a variety of sources for comparison of these numbers including the municipalities own websites, various local newspapers, and vision victoria’s regional summary.
As such any inaccuracies listed are my own bleary eyed mistakes.*
Fuck political apathy, fuck Esquimalt’s mayor, fuck millions of litres of sewage, fuck harper and his imaginary terrorism, and fuck all of you turds who don’t vote, I hope you all have a nice sewer backup come Nov.16