Early debt pay-off will save taxpayers thousands in interest

The Strathcona Regional District is paying off a debt six years early, saving itself and taxpayers thousands of dollars in interest fees

The Strathcona Regional District is paying off a debt six years early, saving itself and taxpayers thousands of dollars in interest fees.

The debt was incurred in 2002, prior to the Strathcona Regional District becoming a single entity, in order to establish a reservoir.

The regional district, which at the time was joined with the Comox Valley Regional District, borrowed $14,276.20 through the Municipal Finance Authority to cover the costs of providing water service to people living in Walters Cove.

The debt was to be paid back in 20 years, by the year 2022, but Dawn Christenson, the regional district’s finance manager, said the regional district has built up enough funds to pay the debt off early.

“The Walters Cove service has enough funds to pay off the debt,” Christenson said. “In comparison to the original debt retirement schedule, an early payout this year would save an estimated $3,000 in interest charges and allow the regional district to cease further property taxation for the service.”

Property owners benefitting from the Walters Cove water service have been paying parcel taxes towards the loan for roughly 14 years.

The regional district has been putting the tax money aside in an effort to try and pay off the debt early.

Since taking on the debt, the regional district has been making payments biannually towards the loan. Since 2011, the regional district has been paying $217.71 on Dec. 1 of each year, and $649.46 on June 1.

Prior to 2011, payments of $864.32 were made each year on June 1, while $432.57 was applied towards the debt on Dec. 1 of each year.

A referendum was held by the Comox-Strathcona Regional District on June 27, 1998 to obtain support for taking on the debt, with 39 per cent of eligible voters casting a ballot. A total of 24 people voted in favour while zero were opposed.

Walters Cove is located on the Island’s west coast.

It is best known for the Walters Cove Resort fishing lodge in Kyuquot which is accessible by either boat or floatplane via Fair Harbour, northwest of Campbell River.