Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and Mr. Floatie board seaplane bound for Seattle where the mascot will retire. (Lisa Helps / Facebook)

Mr. Floatie, the mascot associated with the region’s practice of releasing sewage into the Salish Sea is heading to Seattle to retire officially.

Mayor Helps and Tourism Victoria have been working with their Seattle counterparts and government officials for the past two years to demonstrate their unwavering commitment to achieving sewage treatment for the Capital Region — and to retiring Mr. Floatie,” a statement read.

The retirement comes after the Capital Regional District Board reached a decision to proceed with the construction of a tertiary sewage treatment plant at McLoughlin Point in September 2016.

The construction phase of the project has now begun at the McLoughlin Point site.

Mr. Floatie’s retirement party in Seattle is being hosted by Canadian Consul General James Hill.

Helps, who became chair of the Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee for the Capital Regional District in May 2015, said her focus was to build a sewage treatment plant in the Capital Region and “get this social, economic and environmental black-eye dealt with at last.”

“I wanted to retire Mr. Floatie for good,” added Helps.

“We are travelling to Seattle to thank our neighbours, and to bid farewell to Mr. Floatie — who, by the way, ran for Mayor of Victoria early on in his ‘poop’ persona career. His tenacity over many years helped elevate this dark cloud and make it an issue beyond our region. I’m so pleased to celebrate Mr. Floatie’s retirement in Seattle, and to rekindle our mutual economic interests on both sides of the border.”

Washington State officials and Seattle media have pushed for decades for the Capital Region to treat its sewage. Efforts included running awareness campaigns and threatening tourism boycotts.

A creation of James Skwarok, a Victoria elementary school teacher, Mr. Floatie made his debut on April 1, 2004, at the University of Victoria to announce the birth of the movement People Opposed to Outfall Pollution (POOP). During Mr. Floatie’s formative years (2004-2007), he attended many public events on behalf of POOP to advocate for sewage treatment.

During Mr. Floatie’s formative years (2004-2007), he attended many public events on behalf of POOP to advocate for sewage treatment.

Mr. Floatie garnered international attention when he ran for Mayor of Victoria in 2005. His campaign slogan was “No. 2 for No. 1. Mr. Floatie means business.”

Mr. Floatie dropped out of the race the day before nominations closed after he had caught the attention of media across Canada and in the U.S. as far away as New York.

“What a relief,” said Skwarok. “Thirteen years is a long time to dress up as a seven-foot tall turd. I had no idea it would take this long, but I’m very grateful to have been part of a movement of caring determined people, from both sides of the border, who helped bring sewage treatment to Victoria.

“Mr. Floatie was flushed with joy after the Capital Regional District finally voted in favour of a revised plan — a better plan in fact — to build a tertiary sewage treatment plant at McLoughlin Point. Retirement never felt so good.”

Click here for more information on the Wastewater Treatment Project.

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