A North Shore water users group is asking the Regional District of Central Kootenay for $75,000 toward the cost of a new treatment plant.
In a September 2010 referendum, Ridgewood Road residents voted 39 to 16 in favour of turning their water system over to the regional district.
However, that still hasn’t happened. Six months after the vote, Interior Health issued an enforcement letter setting out a timeline for the improvement district to comply with regulations. They have met the deadlines to date.
In a February 19 letter to the regional district board, chair Cathy Foxcroft explains that before the referendum the improvement district talked with the developer of the Shannon Orchards housing project about working together.
It “seemed to offer a number of advantages and was cost-effective in comparison to the installation of a dedicated water treatment plant” for their system, she wrote.
But as the housing development has been delayed, the improvement district became concerned about potentially higher capital and operating costs if the development didn’t reach full build-out.
“At the same time, the capital costs of installing a dedicated water treatment plant for the system have come down dramatically, making that option more feasible,” Foxcroft wrote.
The improvement district has been working with AquaDiversities, a local company, on a proposed standalone treatment plant and received a construction permit from Interior Health. The provisional budget to install and start up the plant is $175,000.
Residents who attended a meeting last November indicated a “strong preference” for installing the plant, Foxcroft said, and would prefer a special levy instead of a bank loan to minimize financing costs.
“The proposal can proceed quickly, with installation and commissioning within a couple of months of final approval, unlike the indeterminate and seemingly interminable timetable for the Shannon Orchards proposal,” she wrote.
She said the plant would remain property of the improvement district, and they would also assume the costs of maintenance.
However, they need approval from residents to spend reserve funds and impose a special levy — decisions she indicated that would be influenced by whether the regional district supports the project.
Area F alternate director Greg Lawrence said Thursday he couldn’t comment on the letter as he had just seen it. Director Ron Mickel, a Ridgewood Road resident himself, was out of the area but expected back this week.
The Ridgewood Road water system has been on boil advisory since 1995.