Terisa Thomas (left) and her mother, Jan, are concerned about the roughly $15,000 to $20,000 bill they will have to cough up to pay for sewage hookups over the next year. (Kendra Wong/News Gazette staff)

Langford residents concerned about hefty sewage bill

Financing options coming soon, says City

Not many residents can say they have $15,000 to $20,000 lying around. But some residents in Langford say that’s the amount they’ll have to cough up to pay for new sewage hookups over the next year.

“It was a pretty darn big shock,” said Jan Thomas, who has lived on Linda Lane with her daughter Terisa since 2008.

Jan’s home and the five others on Linda Lane run off their own individual septic tanks — and have done so for years. But in 2008, the City of Langford amended its sewage bylaw, making it mandatory for residents to connect to a new or existing sewer.

The bylaw especially targetted homes in environmentally sensitive areas, and made the connection mandatory by the end of 2019.

RELATED: Langford looks to get the word out on sewer connection

Jan added while they did receive a notification in their property taxes, there was no information about the cost. Earlier this year, Jan said construction began on a new sewage line down Linda Lane, and was recently completed. While she understood her home would one day have to be connected to the line, Jan didn’t realize how much it was cost.

It was only after several emails between West Shore Environmental Services Inc., which operates and maintains the City of Langford’s existing sewers plus any extensions of the sewage collection system, as well as handling all customer inquiries, and other parties, that Jan was able to piece together an estimate.

A number of one-time fees, outlined in the City’s sewage bylaw, include a sewer connection fee of $1,500 per inch of service pipe diameter, a sewer capital recovery fee of more than $9,994 – a fee that is scheduled to go up by 2019 – and storage fee of $495.

There is also a $226 sewer utility fee and a $25 account set up fee. Residents must also decommission their septic tanks, which costs roughly $2,000, Jan said. In total, they expect a bill of anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000.

RELATED: Sewer bill continues to climb for one Langford neighbourhood

Terisa said many of their neighbours cannot afford the hefty bill.

“No one had any idea there would be such a big fee,” she said, noting no one on Linda Lane has connected to the new sewage line yet. “To this day, we haven’t received any notification on what the fees are. It’s only because we’ve inquired that we have an idea … it’s a lot of money without any time to prepare.”

But relief could be coming for some residents.

Langford Mayor Stew Young said the City is in the process of coming up with financing options, including allowing residents to go to a partner bank and get a loan with a set financial rate or roll the price of the hookup into property taxes – options which are expected to come into effect on Dec. 31.

“[Sewage] was needed for the health and economic well-being of the community,” he said, adding roughly 93 per cent of residents have voluntarily hooked up to nearby sewer lines.

The City is also working with West Shore Environmental to come up with a complete package fee (including the cost of the hook up and decommissioning the septic tanks) and will send out a friendly reminder about the options available. In addition, residents facing financial or medical hardships may be vetted through a committee, and if they deem it’s a hardship, then they will defer the hookup.

The province’s incoming speculation tax could also impact when residents hook up. Young said that if the tax devalues homes and causes an economic downturn, he won’t force residents to connect to sewage during that time.

“If this speculation tax brings down home values in Langford, I’m going to be looking at the whole program about forcing hookups,” he said. “If housing values go down, I will absolutely not force a hardship on anybody.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

kendra.wong@goldstreamgazette.com

City of Langfordsewage

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich warns of ongoing night work at the Shelbourne, McKenzie intersection

Construction expected to take three weeks to complete

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep Saanich drainage pipe

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Police respond to successful Facebook scam on Oak Bay resident

Petty thievery in King George Terrace where plants, gargoyle are missing

Owner of Langford construction company gets nine months for sexual assault

Kyle Mostowy already spent time in prison for sexually assaulting employees

UPDATE: Incident near Mount Douglas Park ‘strictly medical,’ Saanich police say

Intoxicated person taken into police custody, brought to hospital

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Port Alberni will have a salmon derby on Labour Day after all

Alberni Valley Tyee Club reveals ‘socially distanced’ derby only for Labour Day 2020

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Suspicious fire quenched before reaching gunpowder in Nanaimo’s historic Bastion

Probe underway in basement blaze that erupted near where powder stored to fire signature cannons

Duncan model makes quarter finals in ‘Maxim’ magazine contest

Brandee Peart among top one per cent left in competition

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Fisherman snags barracuda off Vancouver Island in rare encounter

Ferocious fish, not native to Canada, was netted and released in Alberni Inlet

Most Read