Replacement sani-station may be flushed away

Likely have to shell out between $200,000 and $400,000 for a lot large enough to accommodate a proper sani-station

City staff are recommending that council not replace the sani-station decommissioned by the city two years ago.

Jennifer Peters, the city’s utilities manager, said developing a city-owned sani-station would be a costly undertaking for little purpose.

“The city’s sani-station has been closed since fall 2013 and the community has adapted to using the other sani-stations in the area,” Peters said. “Since this time, staff have identified that there is not an apparent need for this service to be provided by the city.”

Council has budgeted $70,000 to construct a new sani-station sometime this year, and $115,000 for land acquisition and site design. However, Peters said the city would likely be looking at having to shell out between $200,000 and $400,000 for a lot large enough to accommodate a proper sani-station.

“A new site for a city operated sani-station would require double-sided access, be relatively easy to find and accessible to visitors/tourists, conveniently located relative to the camping areas and must be in a location which provides adequate space to allow queuing of RV’s without impacting traffic and access to adjacent properties,” Peters said.

City staff have already ruled out locating such a facility in any residential area, or commercial area, based on experience with the former 17th Avenue sani-station which generated concerns over odour and traffic.

Peters said either an industrial or a lower density commercial area would be preferable.

Staff have looked at three sites in particular: the Campbell River Airport, Norm Wood Environmental Centre, and at 2080 Pengelley Road.

But there were issues with all three properties.

Peters said that at the airport, a sani-station would not conform to area’s land use plans and be too out of the way for users.

Access concerns were also a problem at Norm Wood Environmental Centre, as well as site security issues, while the city-owned property at Pengelley Road would take away potential revenue for the city from a surplus land sale. The property is currently listed for sale and is appraised at $340,000.

The city’s former sani-station on 17th Avenue was decommissioned in 2013 after residents made a stink about the foul odours emanating from the facility.

Resident Christine O’Connor wrote five letters over the course of six years asking council for help.

“I still can’t have a barbecue on my porch without the putrid smell of fecal matter rolling through the hot summer air,” O’Connor wrote in 2013. “Every Sunday during the summer the traffic is backed up down the street and a constant rolling of RVs and buses continuously dump their refuse right in front of my home.”

The Campbellton Neighbourhood Association wrote a letter to council supporting O’Connor and presented a petition with 100 signatures asking for the sani-station to be removed.

It cost the city $3,000 to decommission the sani-station which Peters said has not been sorely missed.

“Through this process, staff had raised the question about the necessity for the establishment of this type of facility,” Peters said. “Aside from a few inquiries after the 17th Avenue site was initially decommissioned in the fall of 2013, staff have received few comments from the community regarding the desire to have a city-owned sani-station. Informally, staff has heard from RVers that the other sani-stations within the community appear to be satisfying the needs of the camping community.”

Council was expected to receive city staff’s recommendation at its Tuesday meeting, after the Mirror went to press.