A long stalled project to put sewage lines through the Allendale Pit in Colwood may soon be revived.
Homes and development properties in the new central sewer area — a recent amalgamation of Phase 6 and Phase 7 local service areas — have been waiting since about 2003 for sewage lines. At that time $1 million of a $2.2 million budget was spent on the project, but the work was never finished.
According to City policies, the cost of sewage construction must be paid by sewage taxes collected from property owners in the sewer area, rather than from the general taxes. But the taxes can't be collected unless the sewage line is functioning, and in this case it wasn't. So the City was forced to leave the loan unpaid and collecting interest.
Now, eight years later, Colwood is expected to double the project's budget to $4 million to finally finish it. The new amount would cover the remaining construction of sewage lines, a $1 million sewage lift station, and pay back the loan and interest for earlier work.
According to Colwood city engineer Michael Baxter, sewage users in the central area can expect to pay a lower sewage tax when they finally connect into the system, compared to what they would have paid in 2003, despite having a larger capital cost to pay back. That's because sewage tax is based on parcel tax rather than the assessed property value.
“Only one property will end up paying more than it would have,” Baxter said, citing another old gravel pit next to the Allendale Pit as the one that will see its sewage tax rise.
There are only nine homes in the central sewer area. Most of the property is vacant land owned by the Ridley family, slated for future development. Baxter estimated the average property in the area will be billed about $700 per year in sewage tax when the project is complete.
A contract has already been awarded to finish construction for sewage lines around the Allendale Pit — including Colwood sections of Veterans Memorial Parkway, Sooke Road, Folton Road and Drummond Way. Work within the pit and construction of the lift station on the pit property is expected to begin next year.