The city’s proposal to join northern Area D properties with Campbell River in order to provide them with city sewer service has become more certain.
That’s because the province has confirmed that a senior government grant awarded to the Strathcona Regional District can be transferred to the city, which the city’s sewer offer was conditional upon.
“This news will make the referendum question for voters in the northernmost portion of Area D more clear and certain,” said City Manager Andy Laidlaw in a news release. “Council had directed that the offer to provide sewer and other city services in the proposed boundary extension area would be conditional upon the availability of the grant funding, and it is beneficial for everyone to know that this financial support from senior governments would be available as people reflect on this offer.”
The Build Canada Fund grant is worth $3.4 million and is earmarked for sewer service. The provincial Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development informed the city March 28 that should an Area D residents agree to join the city (through an upcoming referendum), then the grant can be transferred as long as the city and Strathcona Regional District make a joint request for the transfer. The province has also agreed to extend the deadline of the grant from March 31 of this year to March 31, 2016.
Coun. Andy Adams, who holds council’s finance portfolio, said the province wants to help ensure the city has access to the grant so that valuable funding – coveted by many local governments – does not go to waste.
“Senior governments receive more requests for infrastructure funding than can be provided, and the province has communicated to us that it would be disappointing if the funding that has been reserved to improve the sewer service in Area D is not used for this purpose,” Adams said.
The city is committing to provide sewer service to 535 Area D properties south of the city limit to McGimpsey road, which is estimated to serve 1,235 people. Sewer service, however, is contingent upon 51 per cent of affected residents voting in favour of joining the city. Each property owner would pay $9,300 – in one lump sum or over 20 years, likely starting in 2015, as well as pay to connect their home to the sewer line – a cost which would vary from property to property. Residents would have up to five years to connect to the city’s sewer system and pay an $1,800 connection fee.