City to consult Area D on joining the city

Council is moving forward with a plan to ask northern Area D residents whether they support having their property become part of the city

Council is moving forward with a plan to ask northern Area D residents whether they support having their property become part of the city to connect to sewer services despite the area director’s claims that Area D residents do not want to join the city.

“Council has endorsed a process that will invite people who live closest to the city’s southern boundary to tell us whether they’re interested in having the municipal boundary extended to include their property and to have those properties serviced with the city sewer system,” Mayor Walter Jakeway said in a news release.

After looking through a consultant’s report outlining the steps required to extend its southern boundary, council chose to pursue its offer.

“Our first step would be to explain the city’s rationale for a boundary extension and related sewer service initiative to the Strathcona Regional District, the regional director, Area D residents and city taxpayers,” Jakeway said. “Then, we’d begin community-wide consultation. We anticipate that residents in both the City and Area D will have a number of questions about the proposal, and we are committed to a public consultation process later this  year. We are now in the process of doing the fact finding around technical requirements and cost estimates to narrow down where it would be most cost-effective to adjust the southern boundary and offer sewer service,” he adds.

The city’s proposal is to incorporate about 1,000 properties from the city boundary at Jubilee Parkway south to Henry Road. The proposal 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, some of which are failing and causing health and environmental concerns.

Resident Mark Treacy said last fall there is a “need for a sewer system. There is a study showing numerous septic failures allowing for human fecal matter to flow freely into roadside ditches, creeks and streams. The lawn surface on the residence adjacent to mine during summer months flows of this same waste.”

Despite that, Brenda Leigh, director for Area D, has said the city is acting too quickly and won’t find the support it’s looking for.

“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 in October at a regional district meeting. “That’s something that the people of Area D should decide after a full and independent presentation of all the factors, and through referendums.”

Area D residents have already shown support for a sewer system through a referendum in 2006. Residents voted in favour of the Strathcona Regional District borrowing up to $9,350 for the collection and disposal of sewage.

The city had put an offer on the table to extend its sewer service to Area D in October 2011 but Leigh said the offer was more than double what was approved in the referendum and the city pulled out of negotiations after the regional district turned its offer down.

In September, the city announced a solution – extend its southern city boundary to incorporate northern Area D properties that in turn would be entitled to city sewer services.

Now the city is following through, Jakeway said.

“We’ll provide information to city and Area D residents about service improvements and property tax changes to help people decide whether they support extending the city boundary and sewer service,” he said. “Feedback from both groups would make up part of a submission that we’d send to the province for approval.”