A Lake Country property owner is expressing frustration with the time it has taken to get water serviced to his lot a couple of years after paying to be included in the Lakepine water utility that was taken over by the district.
Gordon Blue says he paid a $3,900 fee to be included in the Lakepine Water system in Carr’s Landing in 2010 but his lot is still unserviced by water and he has decided to put it up for sale rather than continue to wait.
“Years after applying for water we are sitting dry,” said Blue, 75, a retired Vancouver resident who purchased his lot in 1981 with plans to retire to Lake Country. “At this point I have put the lot up for sale. At this stage of my life do I really want to keep banging my head against the wall?”
The District of Lake Country took over the previously privately-owned Lakepine Water Utility in 2011 and added it to the district’s water system, moving about 70 residents onto district water. It was one of several private water utilities the district has taken over since it incorporated and there are several more still operating in Lake Country.
While Blue’s lot, and one other, is included within the boundaries of the Lakepine system, the lots are physically located in an area that is serviced by another private utility called the Moberly system, a small utility with just 11 connections.
“When we were asked to be part of Lakepine, they wanted to get as many people to be a part of it so that the costs were reduced for everyone,” said Blue. “We don’t want to wait anymore. We want some sort of service to the Lake Country water system. I’m just banging my head against the wall and it shouldn’t be that way. This is a negative approach to development.”
Currently the only way to get water to Blue’s lot and the other lot in question would be to run a water line through a private property to the east of the two lots. That would mean running the line through the property of Lake Country mayor James Baker. Baker says his land has already been surveyed for a possible water right-of-way and he has no problem allowing the district to run a line through his property. However he says the issue is more complicated than just running a line to service the two lots.
“I would like to see a system that included everyone (in that area) and become a proper system with proper fire flows, good water pressure and good water,” said Baker. “I think it just needs to best serve the entire community not just two individuals. There are other lots that would like water as well.”
The district says it has applied for a grant from the provincial government to investigate how best to bring the residents of the Moberly system onto district water and is waiting to hear if they will receive funding for the study this year.
District engineering director Michael Mercer says Lake Country has taken over several private water utilities in the past but says the first step in the process is investigating the costs of a takeover as private landowners must foot the bill.
“These (water utilities) are very complicated to take over. When you inherit a water utility there are all kinds of issues,” said Mercer who admitted Blue’s lot was a unique case. “This is a land-locked lot. We are looking at the most cost effective way. There are options but they are very expensive.”
For Blue, he says waiting for a study or other action on his lot is frustrating. He says he has paid to be included on the Lake Country water system and the district has been dragging its feet and adds that he he has no option other than to put his lot on the market.
“I paid my money and I trusted that the district was going to get water to my lot,” he said. “It’s been completely frustrating.”