The District of Lake Country will go through the alternate approval process in its hopes of borrowing up to $8.85 million to pay for Phase 4 of its wastewater treatment plant upgrade. (Black Press - file photo)

The District of Lake Country will go through the alternate approval process in its hopes of borrowing up to $8.85 million to pay for Phase 4 of its wastewater treatment plant upgrade. (Black Press - file photo)

Lake Country goes to alternate approval process for treatment plant upgrade

District will look to borrow near $8.9 million to pay for Phase 4 upgrade; proposal can be defeated by electorate

With no grant funding available, the District of Lake Country will look to go the alternate approval process route to pay for Phase 4 of its Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade.

The district wants to proceed with borrowing up to nearly $8.85 million for the project.

The borrowing bylaw is available for public perusal at the municipal hall during regular office hours.

In January 2020 staff submitted a grant application for $9.8 million to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program which was not successful.

“The only option to move forward with the Phase 4 upgrade is to consider funding through long-term borrowing,” said the district in a release issued Thursday, Sept. 2.

The borrowing will be repaid using existing and future Sewer Development Cost Charges (DCCs). That means no increase in user fees, parcel taxes or property taxes because of the borrowing. If there are not enough future DCCs to repay the debt, council may consider alternatives such as borrowing from reserves or taxes.

The cost of servicing the debt using the Municipal Finance Authority (MFA) interest rate of 3.09% with a 20-year amortization is estimated at $628,012 ($354,856 to principal, $273,156 to interest) in 2022. The total cost of borrowing over 20 years is estimated at $5,463,120.

The Phase 4 upgrade includes improvements to increase the district’s capacity to treat wastewater and reduce risk by providing greater redundancy. As the community continues to grow and sewage sent to the treatment plant continues to increase, improvements to the plant’s redundancy and capacity are required.

Not completing these improvements puts the plant and district facilities at risk of failure due to a lack of redundancy and capacity.

The WWTP is rapidly approaching capacity, meaning the district will be unable to further service the community. To ensure residents have a safe and environmentally responsible means of liquid waste disposal, upgrades are necessary.

The alternate approval process is open to all qualified electors in the district, and 10 per cent of the eligible voters must vote against borrowing the money for the bylaw to be defeated.

Based on data from BC Statistics and the 2016 Census, the total number of electors in the District of Lake Country is estimated at 12,669. Council may proceed with the Loan Authorization Bylaw only if it does not receive elector response forms signed by at least 10 per cent of the electors. A total of 1,267 Elector Response Forms must be received by the deadline to prevent council from proceeding with the borrowing without first conducting a referendum.

You can only sign an Elector Response Form once and no person is permitted to withdraw their name after the deadline. Elector response forms will be accepted only if they are in the form established by the District of Lake Country council.

“By signing a form, you are indicating you are opposed to the borrowing,” said the district.

Forms are available at the District of Lake Country Municipal Hall, and completed forms must be turned in on or before 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12.Forms may be submitted in person or by mail to the Municipal Hall, 10150 Bottom Wood Lake Road, Lake Country, BC, V4V 2M1 or by email to admin@lakecountry.bc.ca.

To sign a form in opposition of the proposed borrowing, a person must be 18, a Canadian citizen, have lived in B.C. for at least six months before signing the form, and resided in Lake Country for at least 30 days, or have been the registered owner of Lake Country property for at least 30 days.

For information on the Wastewater Treatment Plant and the District’s Liquid Waste Management Plan visit https://letstalk.lakecountry.bc.ca/lwmp or contact Greg Buchholz, Director of Utilities, at 778-738-2711 or gbuchholz@lakecountry.bc.ca.

For more information on the Alternative Approval Process please contact Reyna Seabrook, Director of Corporate Services, at 778-738-2742 or rseabrook@lakecountry.bc.ca.

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Municipal GovernmentWastewater treatment