Quadra sewers may be put to a referendum

The regional district is offering Quadra Islanders sewer service for the second time, but this time at a cheaper price

A proposal to provide additional Quadra Island properties with sewer service has new life.

The Strathcona Regional District is offering once again to hook up homes in Quathiaski Cove, near the BC Ferry terminal, to the island’s sewer system but this time at a cheaper price.

The difference, compared to the original proposal in 2012, is in the thousands of dollars.

Russ Hotsenpiller, CAO of the regional district, is recommending the project be put to a referendum in order to gauge the level of support.

“In light of the feedback received as part of the public meetings held to-date, staff recommend that elector assent now be sought for the revised option two – 36 lots,” Hotsenpiller said. “On the basis of the history associated with this project, namely the failed petition process in May 2012, it is recommended that elector assent by voting be sought, despite it being a costly and lengthy process.”

Only 30 per cent of affected residents signed the petition two years ago in support of the project which originally required property owners to contribute a $16,630 one-time payment or pay a parcel tax of approximately $1,400 for 20 years.

Now, that cost has been revised to $9,100 per property because the regional board is prepared to use some of its Community Works Funds to fund up to $400,000 of the sewer expansion project.

“The lowered property owner contribution costs (are) a result of the proposed application of a Gas Tax subsidy, representing approximately 50 per cent of the project cost,” Hotsenpiller said.

The regional district approached residents in November with the new figure and revised its option one expansion from four to five lots on Green Road and its option two expansion from 34 to 36 lots in the foreshore and Pidcock Road area.

The regional district is looking to put the sewer expansion question to a referendum in July.

Hotsenpiller said because of the cost to hold a referendum, staff did consider holding the vote during this November’s civic election, however, staff felt that would be too long to wait as it would implicate project timelines.

The board of directors was expected to make a decision on whether or not to authorize a referendum process at its meeting Thursday afternoon after the Mirror went to press. If the board were to vote in favour, the regional district has slated July 26 as general voting day.