Despite two failed referendums in Colwood, sewers were created for developers.
If instead of sewers you thought about building on “swampland” and need large investments to do so, no one would think that the people living on the stable land should pay for “swamp” expansion for others.
In Royal Bay only 300 of 2,800 homes proposed have been built. In the last three years, the assessed values of undeveloped lands in Royal Bay have dropped costing all of the citizens of Colwood. There is also an adjustment needed for the shortfall in sewer taxation of about $120,000.
Looming on the horizon are many more sewer costs — sewage treatment, sewer expansion, legal costs associated with repairing or replacing the sewer bylaws and possible legal challenges related to the way the City created the sewer system 20 years ago. The costs are so high that maybe the $20,000 to $40,000 it may cost to repair or replace an aging septic system is more acceptable to homeowners. This makes the question of sewers come down to one main issue — who will pay?
The $120,000 shortfall in the Royal Bay sewer local service area, if apportioned to the landowners in that area, will result in a one time 88 per cent sewer tax increase. The sewer oversight committee has recommended that all of the taxpayers of Colwood should pay 50 per cent of this cost ($60,000). Council will likely decide on Monday, Dec. 6.
At an estimated cost of $1,84 million (Colwood’s portion of regional sewage treatment), this would mean $240 per year to a home valued at $500,000. If you never can access sewers, you could be on the hook for treatment and expansion despite having to build and maintain your own in-ground sewage treatment.
For more information e-mail Colwood council at firstname.lastname@example.org.