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Quathiaski Cove residents vote down sewer proposal, but plan isn’t dead yet
A project to expand sewer service to homes on Quadra Island did not receive majority support from the homeowners that would be affected by the expansion.
The Strathcona Regional District circulated a petition March 29, seeking support for the Quathiaski Cove sewer system. Property owners had six weeks to decide if they wanted to authorize the regional district to proceed with the project.
The petitions came back to the regional district on May 10, with little support.
“In order to proceed...the regional district would have required approval from at least 50 per cent of the properties liable to be charged for the sewer system extension,” said Brian Reardon, chief administrative officer for the Strathcona Regional District.
“Since approval has only been received from approximately 30 per cent of such properties the board will need to determine whether it wishes to seek approval through a different process, i.e. elector assent (referendum).”
Or, the proposal could be tweaked and a second petition distributed.
The project, if approved, would have provided sewer service to 53 properties in the Quathiaski Cove area, near the ferry terminal. The cost of the expansion was expected to be around $975,200 including taxes.
Each home owner benefiting from the project would be expected to pay an estimated $18,400 one-time payment or a parcel tax estimated at $1,400-$1,600 per year for 20 years.
The sewer expansion was prompted by several requests from Quadra property owners.
“Many of the 53 lots identified have a history of septic failure,” said Patti Wells, engineering service co-ordinator for the regional district, in a report to the board last December.
“The installation of sewer service in this area will facilitate ground water improvement and a healthier system.”
But the project has seen its share of hiccups along the way.
The regional district board voted at a meeting last September to circulate the petition to property owners in order to get the go ahead before the end of 2011.
However, changes had to be made to the project bylaws on March 1, 2012. which delayed the distribution of the petition until the end of March.
That meant the costs of a system extension study, in the range of $8,000-$10,000, incurred in 2011, were an outstanding charge at the end of that year.
At a board meeting Dec. 15, directors voted to spend $10,000 from the Electoral Area C (Quadra Island) Feasibility Study Reserve Fund to cover the costs. Those funds now have to be replaced, and if property owners do eventually support the project, repayment of the reserve fund will be the first charge against the service.
The regional district has not abandoned plans for the sewer expansion and will look at alternatives.
The regional district board has directed district staff to come back with a new report outlining options for advancing the sewer extension project.