CityScapes presents plans for Haro Woods to CBRA Board

At last week’s CBRA Board meeting, representatives from CityScapes Ltd., who have been appointed by Saanich to oversee the rezoning of Haro Woods to Natural Park, with a small part assigned to a proposed underground attenuation tank. They presented a four page document showing a series of maps and plans that clarify the proposed changes.

The current land ownership of the woods is split between the CRD, Saanich, and UVic as follows:


Under the proposal, Saanich’s will buy out CRD’s half, and split its current parcel – approx. one third of the area – into two, with the northwestern part transferred to CRD, to accommodate the proposed attenuation tank. The other part, together with CRD’s original parcel, will be designated Natural Park:


Within the CRD’s new parcel, the half closer to Arbutus Rd. will accommodate a 5000 cubic metres underground attenuation tank, with the possibility of a second, 7000 cub. metre tank being built behind it many years in future:


The flow attenuation tank will store excess wastewater during storm events that currently can cause inflow and infiltration into the sanitary sewer system. This will eliminate overflows on the East Coast Interceptor Sewer, between the attenuation tank and Clover Point during a 1 in 5 year storm event, as required by the Ministry of the Environment. The tank will store the wastewater during the storm and then empty into the sewerage system once the storm subsides. It will be set back 25m. from the road, with a minimal vehicle access and parking (gated at the road) for maintenance work. In plan, it looks as follows:


Following the presentation, members of the Board, plus Deborah Dickson (Chair CBRA Friends of Haro Woods) and resident Katrina Madsen voiced the following concerns:

  • That tree-felling be kept to the minimum required by WCB for the protection of the workers during excavation and construction. 
  • That the cleared area not be planted with grass, as this is not part of the natural ecosystem and involves frequent disturbance in the form of maintenance with machinery. While it is clear that the CRD does not want to plant trees on top of the tank, native shrubs such as Oregon grape, salal, etc. would be an appropriate choice, with the added benefit of being low-maintenance. 
  • That the area not be fenced, to allow for continued unhindered access across the site by people and wildlife. 
  • That odour-control mechanisms be put in place from the outset to prevent unpleasant odours escaping into the surroundings, similar to those used at the Marigold facility. 
  • That construction work on the site be carefully timed so as not to coincide with the improvements to McKenzie/Finnerty roundabout and Sinclair, to avoid a surfeit of dump trucks clogging up the Finnerty and McKenzie routes during that time. 

In subsequent correspondence, Brenda McBain of CityScapes has confirmed that that “odour control is installed at the Marigold attenuation tank [on Marigold between Daffodil and Daisy] and the CRD will do the same for Haro Woods. There have been no odour complaints relating to the tank; however, there have been some odour complaints relating to the trunk sewer (in the summer, when the tank is not in use). Odour control measures need to be included in any upgrades of the trunk sewers.”

McBain added that “if there is any other information you or your members would like, please contact me at any time. We have set up an email address specifically for residents who have comments or suggestions. It is

There will also be a series of public Open Houses on the issue in the coming months, at dates to be announced.

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