Colwood residents consider sewer hookup

Property owners’ opinions, stated or not, will determine whether all will hook up to new line or none

Some Colwood homeowners will have a choice to connect their homes to a new sewer line being constructed along Sooke and Metchosin roads.

Property owners were informed about the project in a letter from the City. The new main will be available to service properties along Sooke Road from Hatley Park mall to the foot of Metchosin Road, and homes from 3018 to 3153 Metchosin Rd.

While some of the 60 to 70 affected homeowners relish the opportunity to hook up, longtime Colwood resident Mark Talmon said he is perfectly happy staying with a septic system.

“I intend on getting the value of my well-working septic field as long as I can,” he said. “What upsets me is the way a certain petition will be handed to the affected property owners and a decision on this new tax bill can and may be decided without everyone getting the chance of being involved.”

Talmon, who has lived in Colwood 48 years is upset that homeowners who want to connect to sewer can simply do nothing, while those against connecting and the cost associated to it need to do the legwork of voting “no” through a counter petition. And he is concerned some may not even know that if they do nothing they are inadvertently voting yes.

“They will be using the uninvolved people as a ‘yes.’ Does that seem fair? I don’t think so,” Talmon said.

The sewer line project is scheduled to start this year, with plans for it to be completed later this year. The line will be constructed no matter what, but the majority vote from homeowners in this area of Metchosin Road to opt out or into the Central Local Area Services will dictate whether all homes or no homes will be connected to the line.

Supporters of the project include Mark Salmond, who spoke to real estate agents before forming his opinion and says he sees it as an investment that will pay off over the long term.

“It’s a progression, it’s moving in the future. Being on sewer is moving forward,” he said. “Property value will, in the long run, be a bit better.”

The 30-year Colwood resident has a daycare on his property, so his septic system gets full faster than some homes might. To not to have the opportunity to hook up when the opportunity arises would be quite disappointing, he said. Salmond acknowledged, however, that the upfront connection cost may be too much for some property owners to bear.

The cost to connect is two-fold. The City charges a fee of approximately $9,100 to create the connection from the main sewer line to the property line, a cost that includes a $3,100 sewer enhancement fee. With the cost for the connection to the home and decommissioning of a septic system running between $3,000 and $5,000 – the amount depends on the nature of the ground and the distance to the home  – the total can be as high as $14,000.

Colwood Coun. Gordie Logan said he understands that the finances of such a project are a consideration for some. But he sees value in hooking up at the same time, as the city is running the sewer right past their doors. Either way, he said council supports giving Colwood residents a choice.

“Extending sewers along Metchosin Road could be the catalyst for significant economic development in the Allandale Pit area of Colwood,” he said. “By developing the Allandale Pit, it moves the city closer to its goal of developing neighbourhood centres (and) providing services closer to residents that need them, all with the added benefit of expanding the City’s tax base. It could be a real win-win for the neighbourhood and city taxpayers.”

The deadline for a counter-petition is in early June.

As part of the Central Local Area Services, if homeowners choose to connect they would be charged a sewer tax of approximately $500 per year starting in 2017, which is based on the amount of money Colwood must borrow to construct the line. The payment period for the project would be 28 years.

alim@goldstreamgazette.com

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