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RDNO Area B and C Property Owners in Proposed Service Area: Watch Your Mailbox for Swan Lake Corridor Sewer Petition

Posted Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Area B and C property owners within the proposed North Okanagan Wastewater Recovery Project service area will soon decide whether to borrow the funds needed to support their $5.2-million (14 percent) share of construction costs totalling $36.9 million.

The project would provide residences and businesses with a safe and sustainable sewer system and treatment facility to protect Swan Lake water quality, provide reclaimed water for agriculture, enhance recreational opportunities, and support economic development for serviced portions of Areas B and C, the Township of Spallumcheen’s south-east industrial area, and Okanagan Indian Band lands within the proposed service area.

To learn more and ask any questions about the petition, please join us at our Open House January 22nd at the Vernon Christian School from 4-8pm. Property owners are encouraged to bring their petitions with any questions they might have. 

RDNO Area B and C Funding Petition
Starting this week, affected Area B and C property owners will receive personalized petition packages from the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) outlining long-term borrowing details and rates for their specific properties. 

The project will proceed only with senior government grant funding that could cover more than 80 percent of the $36.9 million project. This includes federal and provincial grants of $24.3 million, an Okanagan Basin Water Board Sewerage Facilities Assistance Grant of $5.9 million, and $1.5 million from Township of Spallumcheen reserves, in addition to approval from Area B and C property owners for their share equal to $5.2 million.

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 at least 50 percent of the net taxable value of all land and improvements within the proposed service area.
Property owners who support the borrowing must sign their petitions and return them to the RDNO by March 15th, 2019. Property owners who oppose borrowing should return the petition unsigned. Petitions, both signed and unsigned can also be dropped off at the Open House on January 22nd.

Project Benefits for Residents and Businesses
Areas B and C Directors Bob Fleming and Amanda Shatzko believe Wastewater Recovery Project benefits for residential property owners are numerous, including the prevention of costly septic system malfunctions that could further impact water quality and cost property owners tens of thousands of dollars.

“As we heard loud and clear at the Swan Lake Commercial Area & Neighbourhood Plan open houses, area residents are interested in the opportunities a community sewer system would bring,” said Fleming. “Future zoning amendments could permit 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.”

Shatzko adds that, “With community sewer, commercial and industrial property owners would also have growth and subdivision opportunities. And those businesses now pumping and hauling liquid waste would have a reliable, affordable, and more convenient alternative.”

“Between the availability of federal grants and our partnership with Spallumcheen and the OKIB, the timing is perfect,” says Fleming. “It’s a remarkable opportunity to bring wastewater treatment to the Swan Lake Corridor, with Area B and C residents paying only 14 percent of the total cost.” 

Shatzko explained that, “This project will have significant long-term environmental, agricultural, economic, and recreational benefits for RDNO, the Township of Spallumcheen, and the Okanagan Indian Band. Our collaborative insights and partnership approach to stewarding our precious resources and community capital will leave an important legacy for future generations.”  

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) that will improve Swan Lake water quality, support agriculture, enhance recreation, and enable economic development opportunities for residential and businesses property owners and the partner jurisdictions.

The $36.9 million 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 by providing wastewater collection and treatment facilities and a distribution network to distribute reclaimed water to area farmers.

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 engaging the public through the Wastewater Recovery Community Working Group.