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Petition of Area B and C property owners the next step toward community sewer for Swan Lake Corridor

Posted Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The future of the North Okanagan Wastewater Recovery Project - and its capacity for enriching environment and economy in the Swan Lake Corridor - depends on local as well as senior government funding.

To that end, a petition of property owners in Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) Areas B and C will determine support for borrowing the $5.2 million needed to augment senior government funding and other funding partnerships for the $36.9-million project. Property owners will receive petition packages in early January 2019 and must complete and submit the petition within 60 days.

“Area B and C property owners are being asked to contribute just 14 percent of the total project cost,” said RDNO Area B Director Bob Fleming, who also sits on the newly formed Wastewater Recovery Community Working Group.

The project is contingent on senior government grant funding ($24.3 million) and approval from RDNO property owners within the service area for long-term borrowing ($5.2 million). The remainder of funding for the project would be provided by an Okanagan Basin Water Board Sewerage Facilities Assistance Grant ($5.9 million) and Township of Spallumcheen reserves ($1.5 million).

“This represents a historic opportunity to bring wastewater treatment service to the area at an affordable cost to property owners,” Fleming added.

Area C Director Amanda Shatzko explained that, “Residents and businesses have been asking for updated services and ways to tackle environmental issues responsibly and sustainably. This project is one of those services that not only can have a positive effect economically to property owners, but also provide an opportunity to reuse/recycle wastewater, and divert pollutants that are currently entering our water streams, aquifers, and lakes. It’s about trying to be good stewards to our environment that could affect future generations.”

To succeed, the petition must be signed by the owners of at least 50 percent 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 50 percent of the net taxable value of all land and improvements within the proposed service area.
Fleming and Shatzko believe Wastewater Recovery Project benefits for residential property owners are numerous, including the prevention of costly septic system failures that could cost tens of thousands of dollars. In addition, future zoning in the Official Community Plan could allow for secondary suites and carriage homes on properties serviced by sewer. With sewer, there could also be opportunities to subdivide larger lots in non-ALR areas.

With community sewer, commercial and industrial property owners would also have more development and subdivision opportunities. And those businesses currently having to pump and haul liquid waste would have a reliable and affordable wastewater collection system.

PETITION OPEN HOUSE JANUARY 22, 2019

Watch for more information about an open house being hosted January 22nd from 4-8pm at the Vernon Christian School (6920 Pleasant Valley Road) to answer any questions affected Area B and C residents might have about the petition.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The North Okanagan Wastewater Recovery Project is a unique partnership involving the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO), Township of Spallumcheen, and Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB). Intended to improve water quality, support agriculture, enhance recreation, and enable suitable economic development, the $36.9-million project would provide wastewater collection and treatment facilities and a distribution network to bring reclaimed water to area farmers. The project would service RDNO Electoral Area B and C residences and businesses in the Swan Lake corridor, the Township of Spallumcheen’s south-east industrial area, and portions of Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) IR4.

The project is contingent on senior government grant funding ($24.3 million) and approval from RDNO property owners within the service area for long-term borrowing ($5.2 million). The remainder of funding for the project would be provided by an Okanagan Basin Water Board Sewerage Facilities Assistance Grant ($5.9 million) and Township of Spallumcheen reserves ($1.5 million).

The partners have taken many steps to ensure the project is shovel-ready should senior government and RDNO funding be approved. These include signing a detailed Memorandum of Understanding, submitting a grant application to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, identifying a potential location, and developing a plan of action for public information and engagement.