Quadra resident ordered to connect to sewer system

The Strathcona Regional District has ordered a Quadra Islander to connect his property to a community sewer system despite the owner’s claim that he can’t afford it.

The owners of a property and hostel on Green Road have, for several years, resisted hooking up to the sewer line installed by the regional district.

Last week, the regional district board had enough and directed staff to issue an Order to Connect which requires the owner to connect his property to the Quathiaski Cove sewer system on or before March 31 or the regional district may undertake the work at the owner’s expense.

Quadra Director Jim Abram said at last week’s Wednesday board meeting that the order to connect is a legal matter.

“It’s a matter of staff dealing with the law. There isn’t, in my opinion, any room to try and convince us politically that we should break the law,” Abram said. “The law is there. Action should happen and it hasn’t happened. They’ve had letter after letter that’s gone ignored or just not happened. This is a property that should have been connected years ago and it hasn’t been.”

The regional district sent letters to the property on on March 14, 2014 and June 3, 2015 asking the property owner to take measures to hook up his property but no application was submitted to the regional district for a sewer connection.

Gordon Humphreys, owner of the property, wrote in a letter to the regional district that he has already had to pay $7,000 to pave a road being destroyed by runoff after the discharge line was first installed.

“We would certainly be in agreement with our hook up but we cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars when there is nothing wrong with the system we have,” Humphreys wrote. “This system has already cost us $7,000 and we are not even close to being hooked up. It would have been prudent to hook us up at the time as everyone else, while all the equipment was there; digging up the whole of Q Cove, and through the middle of our property. Yet no one made any move to get this to happen.”

“We would like to be on the system but we are unable to effectively do that and since our septic system is working well with little maintenance, we can’t justify the hook up as we have no idea of cost and who will be responsible for this,” he said.

Patti Wells, operations engineer for the regional district, and Ralda Hansen, community services manager, wrote in a joint report to the board that Island Health has no record of approving that waste disposal system so the carrying capacity of the system is questionable. They wrote that it is also “worrisome” that the property has a water course bisecting the property.

“Pidcock Creek bisects the western portion of the property and is, in accordance with the Sensitive Habitat Atlas 2006, designated as a wetland area,” Wells and Hansen wrote. “The existing sanitary sewer main is situated on the east side of Green Road which fronts the property. A sewer service connection installation is feasible and would require an open trench cutting across Green Road.”

The board agreed with the joint report and approved the Order to Connect at the Jan. 13 board meeting. At that same meeting, Humphreys was allotted time to address the board despite a previous letter to the regional district stating he would be unable to attend that meeting.

Humphreys instead suggested he could meet with regional district staff in February.

But the board approved the order despite Cortes Director Noba Anderson suggesting it seemed to be “not in good faith” to approve the order when the board had received correspondence that the owner would not be in attendance.