04/08/2014 10:48 EDT | Updated 06/08/2014 05:59 EDT

Victoria sewage plant rezoning rejected by Esquimalt

Plans for a new sewage plant for Victoria were dealt a blow last night when Esquimalt councillors unanimously rejected the Capital Regional District's application for McLoughlin Point.

The CRD was asking the council to allow encroachments along the shoreline at its site at the mouth of Victoria Harbour, which is already zoned for wastewater treatment, in exchange for several million dollars in public amenities.

But the application was rejected and the council also went one step further, and asked staff to develop an amendment that would ban any sewage treatment plant from being built on the waterfront site, which was once an oil tank farm.

Mayor Barb Desjardins said the proposal to build a sewage treatment plant had not been popular one in Esquimalt, with public hearings about the rezoning application stretching out over many days.

"It's an emotional decision, but it was a very clear decision coming out of that public hearing.  And as you saw tonight, the public were absolutely supportive of that decision," said Desjardins.

Currently the region's sewage is dumped in the ocean with minimal treatment, and plans for a secondary treatment plant have proven controversial.

In 2012 the federal government announced it would contribute about $253 million toward the cost of building a $780 million wastewater treatment plant in Esquimalt along with a second biosolids plant at the Hartland Landfill, which will convert solid waste into energy.