Quadra Island sewers to go to referendum

The Strathcona Regional District will hold a referendum on whether to extend sewer service

The Strathcona Regional District will hold a referendum on whether to extend sewer service to homes in Quathiaski Cove on Quadra Island.

The regional board voted last Thursday in favour of hosting the referendum which will ask approximately 40 property owners if they want to pay to hook up to the sewer system.

For Quadra Island Director Jim Abram, that was music to his ears.

“Yahoo!” Abram said. “We’re on our way to ‘yes’ or ‘no’. I have to thank staff for the inordinate amount of time they’ve put into this process. The petition didn’t work. They re-vamped it and brought it back.”

A petition was circulated by the regional district in 2012 but only generated a favourable response from 30 per cent of affected residents. The original proposal asked property owners to each contribute a $16,630 one-time payment or a parcel tax of approximately $1,400 for 20 years.

Since the failure of the petition, regional district staff have worked to try and lower the cost.

As a result, staff have agreed to apply gas tax refund monies towards the cost of the sewers, lowering the contribution each property owner would have to make to $9,100.

“The lowered property owner contributions costs (are) a result of the proposed application of a Gas Tax subsidy, representing approximately 50 per cent of the project cost,” wrote Russ Hotsenpiller, CAO of the Strathcona Regional District, in a report to the board.

Hotsenpiller also warned that residents should be prepared for additional costs on top of the $9,100 one-time contribution.

“Property owners should be reminded throughout the upcoming months of the additional on-property costs to be borne by each property owner should the project proceed,” Hotsenpiller wrote. “These being for the installation of a connection line from the property line to the residence (estimated at $1,000 to $2,500) and in some cases, the cost of installation of an on-site sewage pump (estimated at $3,500).”

The regional district has slated July 26 as general voting day.

If the project goes ahead, the regional district estimates the project could go out to tender between March and April of next year, with construction to take place between June and September of 2015.