Area D sewer delayed again

Project would connect 172 homes in the Ocean Grove and Crawford Loop neighbourhoods to the City of Campbell River

A sewer system for Crawford Road residents is on hold for another year.

A project that would connect 172 homes in the Ocean Grove and Crawford Loop neighbourhoods to the City of Campbell River’s sewer system was not included in the Strathcona Regional District’s 2012 budget.

“The Northern Area D Liquid Waste Management Plans, which would begin with Phase One in the Ocean Grove to Crawford Loop neighbourhoods, has been postponed,” confirmed Brenda Leigh, Area D director.

The neighbourhoods south of the city boundary are within what is known as Area D, and are governed by the regional district. Houses are currently hooked up to septic systems to manage their waste.

Karen Van Male, who lives on Crawford Road, said many of her neighbours have been experiencing septic problems in their homes and have been anticipating sewer service for several years.

“The septic smell when it rains is really bad,” Van Male said. “There’s no fix in sight.”

Leigh said the regional district received a connection proposal from the city on Oct. 10, but the price tag was too high.

“The regional district cannot proceed with the project due to the fact that the proposed connection cost to Campbell River would more than double what was authorized by the northern Area D citizens at referendum,” Leigh said.

Nearly six years has passed since the June 10, 2006 referendum. Northern Area D residents voted in favour (52 per cent) of the regional district borrowing $9,250 per lot, for the collection and disposal of sewage. Properties benefiting from the sewer service would cover the costs in either one lump sum or spread out over a 25-year period.

The regional district has also secured approximately $3.4 million in provincial and federal government grant funding. That funding is available until March 2016.

But Leigh said the regional district cannot proceed with the sewer system this year because the city’s proposal would push the cost to more than double what was publicly approved.

“The regional district is legally unable to proceed with the project unless it is within the authorized spending limit,” Leigh said.

She said a second referendum hasn’t been ruled out.

“Next steps are for the regional district staff to provide other options/costs, but anything beyond the spending limit (approved) would require a form of public assent through either an Alternate Approval process or another referendum in the proposed service area,” Leigh said.

The liquid waste planning process for Area D has been ongoing since 2003. According to the regional district’s website, construction on phase one of the sewer project was tentatively scheduled for the end of 2009 and is valued at $5.1 million. It involves around 4,000 metres of gravity sewer main, 200 metres of forcemain, two pump stations and 172 service connections to existing properties. Subsequent phases are supposed to extend the project southward to include Mittlenatch, Stories Beach and York Road subdivisions.