At an in-camera meeting on Dec. 3, council confirmed the city will offer sewer service to Area D properties closest to Campbell River’s southern boundary if the property owners agree to a boundary adjustment proposal that would bring those properties into the municipality.
According to a city press release, the offer for sewer services will be:
- Extended to 208 properties (estimated population: 480)
- Offered at the $9,360 contribution rate previously approved by an Area D referendum in 2006
- Conditional upon the availability of an existing $3.4 million grant for Area D sewer services
“Respecting the costs for sewer that people supported in the 2006 referendum demonstrates that council is working to offer the most affordable way for people in Area D to get municipal sewer services,” says Coun. Mary Storry, who holds the public works portfolio for council. The city’s bylaw connection fee (currently $1,800) would also apply once people hooked up to sewer service.
The proposal to join the municipality will also be offered to properties south to McGimpsey Road, on the understanding that the city will pursue grants to extend sewer services in this second area as soon as possible in the foreseeable future.
“Council decided to make the offer to join the municipality to both areas, planning to implement sewer services only to the closest area at first because it’s clear that the existing grant is insufficient to affordably fund both areas at this time,” adds Coun. Storry. “This phased approach is consistent with the way the city installed sewers following a 1991 boundary adjustment in north Campbell River and Quinsam Heights, where sewer services were installed as funding was secured.”
Sewer services could be available in the first area as early as 2016.
But Brenda Leigh, the regional district director who represents Area D, said joining the city is not something her residents want.
“We do not want to join Campbell River,” Leigh said at a regional district board meeting in July. “Every molecule of my body does not want to join Campbell River. I will fight this process. I don’t have anything against Campbell River but I love the countryside, I love our atmosphere, I love the rural character of our community. I think this move by Campbell River is completely disrespectful of me as a director who has served this area, and for the residents.”
A spring referendum on the proposal will be held for property owners in the potential boundary extension area. The total referendum area covers 537 properties (estimated population: 1,235).
If people support the boundary expansion, the city’s offer will be conditional upon the Strathcona Regional District agreeing to transfer the existing $3.4 million grant, and on senior governments agreeing to extend the availability for the grant (currently due to expire unless a sewer project is completed by March 31, 2015).
Council directed city staff to work with regional district staff to formally apply to the province to extend the grant timeline.
Council also agreed that Henry Road would be the long-term limit of the city’s southern boundary because this area most closely represents urban land use and density that is consistent with what is found within city limits.
“The city’s goal is to provide a cost-effective and practical solution to address the public health and environmental concerns created by failing septic fields in part of Area D,” says Mayor Walter Jakeway. “Our next step will be to provide information about service improvements and related costs to help city and Area D residents decide whether they support extending the city boundary and sewer service.
“We aim to share all the details in the new year.”