More than 130 Area B and C property owners attended an open house Tuesday to learn about the North Okanagan Wastewater Recovery Project in general, and the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) petition in particular.
Attendees spoke with elected officials, RDNO and Urban Systems staff, and Wastewater Recovery Community Working Group members about project benefits, the proposed service area and treatment system components and locations.
Interest was particularly strong around potential rates for their properties if RDNO gets the go-ahead from Area B and C property owners to borrow $5.2 million for their share of the $36.9 million project.
“I was very pleased to see the number of both residents and business owners from the Swan Lake corridor and their level of interest,” said Area B director Bob Fleming. “Along with the many questions people asked me, the most common comment was, ‘It’s time this happened.’ I’m hearing that most people feel it’s an investment in the future of both our environment and economy.”
Area C Director Amanda Shatzko noticed a similar trend.
“The turnout and response from the public was positive. Many residents spoke about the state of their current septic systems and how they would prefer to connect to sewer before their septic systems start to malfunction.”
While support for the project was strong, Fleming said that, “There were definitely concerns expressed by some regarding the costs.” Shatzko heard that, “While connecting would be an expense, it would be better to pay now than paying the same or more later to replace their septic systems, as it is inevitable they will need to be upgraded or replaced.”
Area B and C residents and businesses within the proposed service area have received personalized petition packages outlining long-term borrowing details and rates for their 14 per cent share ($5.2 million) of the $36.9 million project. Those who support borrowing should sign their petitions and return them to RDNO before March 15.
To succeed, the petition must be signed by the owners of at least 50 per cent of the parcels liable to be charged for the proposed service. In addition, people signing must be the owners of parcels that, in total, represent at least 50 per cent of the net taxable value of all land and improvements within the proposed service area.
If the petition succeeds, RDNO could establish a local service area and proceed with borrowing if the federal/provincial grant for $24.3 million is approved. The project will not continue without the grant.
Property owners who haven’t received their petition packages should contact Leah Mellott, RDNO general manager of electoral area administration at 250-550-3722 or email@example.com.
For more information about the project and the petition, visit www.rdno.ca.