Mandatory sewer hookups a huge burden in Langford

Residents are at the mercy of new development when it comes to timing for the hookup of a sewer line to their property

Re: Proposed development triggers concerns over sewer hookups (Gazette, Nov. 11)

Having just read this article I realized the predictions I made a couple of years ago and documented in a letter to the editor at that time are coming to fruition.

The owners of residences, particularly in the core neighbourhoods of Langford, are at the mercy of new development when it comes to timing for the hookup of a sewer line to their property. That is to say, when a property on your street is rezoned for higher density – which in turn triggers the requirement to install a sewer main to accommodate this new development, and that sewer main will pass in front of your property – you are now required to hook up your residence to the new main even though your septic field is fully functional.

Some of the approximate costs homeowners will be faced with include $6,000 for a sewer connection fee, $10,000 for sewer capital recovery fee, $10,000 or more for on-site installation costs and property restoration, $495 for an incremental storage improvement fee and $225 for a sewer user fee, as calculated on one’s metered water consumption.

The total costs are approximately $26,720. Wow. I don’t know about other people, but our family doesn’t have that kind of money kicking around, so will have to draw from our retirement fund to pay for it. I suspect others in Langford will have to do the same or use one of the following other options: borrow the money, remortgage their home or sell their home.

How are our seniors and veterans going to be able to come up with this kind of money? What a terrible question to raise on Remembrance Day.

I view these costs as the equivalent of nearly the doubling my property taxes over at least the next 25 years.

The fee amounts and timing of payment will clearly create a financial hardship on folks who own property in our core downtown neighbourhoods, where rezoning applications occur adjacent to their homes.

It is therefore critical that the mayor and council review this matter and make the necessary changes to the applicable bylaws and agreements to nullify the hookup time requirement for owners of properties who live on streets where higher density development is occurring and sewer mains are being installed to accommodate them. That is not only fair, but the right thing to do.

Ian Phillips

Langford