The city is ploughing ahead with plans that, if approved, would extend its southern boundary and join Area D residents with the City of Campbell River.
The city hired outside consultant Urban Systems to undertake a detailed study to gauge the feasibility of a boundary extension.
Through the process, Urban Systems will review the impacts on Area D residents, Campbell River residents and the Strathcona Regional District.
“We will be looking at a wide range of issues, such as governance and how that would change,” said James Klukas, community planner with Urban Systems, at Tuesday’s council meeting. “We’ll also be looking at the financial impacts of the boundary extension.”
Following the study, Urban Systems expects to hold a public consultation meeting in the fall.
“We expect to have the study’s findings ready to share with the community this fall to give affected residents – both inside and outside Area D – the opportunity to fully understand the boundary extension proposal and its implications,” said Klukas in a release.
A formal submission would then be sent to the province for review and following that, a referendum would take place in Area D. Klukas hopes to hold the referendum sometime in late 2013. The city would also need the approval of electors in the City of Campbell River, and that would likely happen through an Alternative Approval Process, where the city obtains approval unless more than 10 per cent of all eligible voters write in an objection. The city has been considering annexing Area D (Oyster Bay-Buttle Lake), which includes the Crawford Road area, into the city since last year in response to a break down in negotiations with the Strathcona Regional District over hooking up Area D residents to the city’s sewer system.
Area D residents, in a 2006 referendum, voted in favour of the Strathcona Regional District borrowing up to $9,350 for the collection and disposal of sewage.
The city had an offer on the table in October 2011 but Area D Director Brenda Leigh said the offer was more than double what was approved in the referendum. The city pulled out of negotiations after the regional district turned down the city’s offer. The city’s solution is to extend its boundary to incorporate Area D properties so they can benefit from the city’s sewer system.
The proposal would incorporate about 1,000 properties from the city boundary at Jubilee Parkway south to Henry Road. It would allow 2,400 of the total 4,300 Area D population to hook up to the city’s sewer service and get off septic tanks, according to the city. But Leigh has suggested in the past that Area D is not interested in joining the city.
“I do not believe that the people of Area D are interested in being annexed into Campbell River or being governed by them in order to get those services,” Leigh said. “That’s something that the people of Area D should decide after a full and independent presentation of all the factors, and through a referendum.”