Residents along Kalamalka Road and Giles

Residents along Kalamalka Road and Giles

Coldstream sewer may become mandatory

The district is looking at (but hasn’t yet implemented) requiring mandatory connection to the sanitary sewer system

Controversy has resurfaced over sewer as Coldstream looks at forcing residents to hook up.

The district is looking at (but hasn’t yet implemented) requiring mandatory connection to the sanitary sewer system for residents whose properties have a line going past their home.

If approved, the change would also increase the existing $2,000 connection fee to $5,000 at the end of two years after the adoption of the bylaw.

But first, Coldstream is preparing a communications plan to inform the public of the upcoming change, and reasons for it.

“There is a cost to the overall utility,” said Mayor Jim Garlick, of the reason for the change.

“How do you tell people that are hooked up and paying for it that these other people don’t need to?”

The Kalamalka Road line was installed in 2006.

“I know this (mandatory hookup) is controversial because it (sewer line) was when it first came in,” said Garlick, as some residents were against the sewer line in the first place (which runs along Giles Drive, Pine Drive, Coldstream Creek Road and Mackie Drive to Coldstream Meadows).

“How we handle it moving forward is going to require some skill and education otherwise you’re going to create a bunch of turmoil.”

Therefore staff has been instructed to get some estimates in terms of the additional costs that homeowners will have to pay on top of the $2,000 connection fee.

“For me to hookup it’s going to cost a lot of money,” said one Kalamalka Road neighbour who wished to remain anonymous.

Another upset resident said he has received an estimate of $15,000-25,000 to put in a sewer connection from his home to the property line, on top of the connection fee.

“You’re just going to inconvenience the few people here that are long term residents,” said Dan Paterson, upset with the direction council is taking.

While homeowners will incur additional expenses to hookup, staff and council want to collect some more accurate figures.

“There are going to be extra charges for people to hookup but they’re not going to be excessive amounts as this individual suggested,” said Coun. Glen Taylor.

While each house will differ, costs will include plumbing changes, bringing sewer pipes from the house to the property line and then the cost to hookup to the sewer main.

“There’s a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation on this,” said Coun. Doug Dirk, who would’ve liked to have seen some figures released and rationale released before Coldstream started this process.

Trevor Seibel, Coldstream’s chief administrative officer, says the costs that Paterson suggested do not reflect the average cost for homeowners who have already made the connection.

“It’s less than that, significantly less than that,” said Seibel, adding that there is also financing available for residents through the district for up to 15 years.

“The last couple we had have been 10 years. They just paid quarterly on their utility bill,” said Seibel.

The issue will be brought back to council following a Dec. 12 finance committee meeting, where the communications plan and reasoning will be brought forward.