Area D decision Saturday

A total of 535 property owners will be asked whether or not they wish to join Campbell River in order to receive city sewer service

Area D residents will finally head to the polls tomorrow.

A total of 535 property owners will be asked whether or not they wish to join the city of Campbell River in order to receive city sewer service.

The issue has been ongoing for two years, since the city first proposed amalgamation with northern Area D in order to get those properties off septic systems.

Brenda Leigh, Strathcona Regional District director for Area D, said she is expecting a good number of people will turn out to vote.

“By all reports, the two advance polls have been well-run and I trust we can look forward to a big turnout on Saturday, June 28 at Ocean Grove School,” Leigh said. “I have the utmost respect for the intelligence of the people in Area D and I trust that they will take this vote seriously and that they will make an informed decision.”

The referendum question, with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ option, reads: “Are you in favour of a boundary extension to include a portion of Electoral Area D within the boundaries of the City of Campbell River for the purpose of connecting to the City of Campbell River sanitary sewer service?”

The city also needs to get approval from Campbell River taxpayers and will use the Alternate Approval Process, which gives the city the green light to move forward with the project unless more than 10 per cent of registered voters send a signed opposition form to city hall. Electors will have until July 21 by 4 p.m. to object.

If the project goes ahead, it will cost Campbell River taxpayers an extra $24 a year in user fees for the next 20 years, in order to pay off a $3.9 million project debt.

Area D residents would be expected to pay $9,300, either in one lump sum or over the course of 20 years, likely starting in 2015. They would have five years to connect to the city’s sewer system and pay an additional $1,800 connection fee. A third cost would be to connect their home to the sewer line, an amount that would vary from home to home.

Tomorrow’s vote brings to an end months of frustration from many Area D residents who have repeatedly asked the city to leave them alone, have shown no interest in joining the city and have protested the city’s proposal by putting up signs in Area D that encourage residents to vote ‘no’.

Leigh said everyone is ready to see it come to an end.

“All of our Area D community is looking forward to this process concluding. Once this is over, I am hopeful that we can move on to enjoying our beautiful rural summer in gorgeous Area D,” Leigh said. “I would like to express the gratitude of my community to Minister Coralee Oakes, who was determined to offer a democratic vote to our rural citizens. I would also like to thank her for appointing Lynn Ketch as Chief Electoral Officer. Ms. Ketch and her team offered my Area residents a people-friendly, professionally-conducted opportunity to vote.”

Voting takes place tomorrow at Ocean Grove Elementary, 3773 McLelan Rd.