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Boundary extension puts Strathcona regional district staff under the gun

Campbell River’s proposal to extend its city boundary into a portion of Area D is creating workload pressures for Strathcona Regional District staff.

As part of the process, the regional district is required to review a consultant’s report commissioned by the city and identify whether affected residents would suffer any negative impacts from a boundary extension.

Russ Hotsenpiller, the regional district’s chief administrative officer, said the organization’s input is mandated by the province and must be submitted to the ministry of community, sport and cultural development no later than March 28.

That doesn’t leave much time for the regional district which will need to hire outside expertise to identify any service impacts.

“The SRD has a limited capacity and experience to sufficiently assess the impact to services associated with Urban Systems phase 2 and 3 draft proposal,” Hotsenpiller wrote in a report to the Strathcona Regional District’s board of directors. “Accordingly, staff has applied to the ministry for financial assistance to aid in providing an accurate and timely response to the boundary extension and have requested and received Campbell River’s support for this undertaking.”

Urban Systems’ consultant’s report studies the feasibility of the city extending its southern boundary in order to provide Area D residents with city sewer service.

The city is proposing to bring 208 northern Area D properties into the city of Campbell River, conditional on a $3.4 million senior government grant being extended past March 2015 to help pay for the cost of extending the city’s sewer infrastructure.

The project also hinges on how Area D residents vote on the proposal through a referendum that could happen as early as this fall.

The city is offering the sewer service at a contribution rate of $9,300 per property, a rate that was approved by Area D residents in a 2006 referendum.

On top of that, a $1,800 connection fee would be applied to each affected Area D property.

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