Pender to vote on $6 million loan for upgrading sewer system

Pender Island residents will vote in November on whether to borrow up to $6 million to upgrade the Magic Lakes Estates sewer system.

If approved, the borrowing bylaw would add a parcel tax of about $496 a year for 30 years for about 710 properties. An estimated 2,000 people will be eligible to vote.

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CRD says the total cost of the renewal project is estimated at about $12.1 million. Borrowing the entire amount over a 30-year amortization period would add an annual parcel tax of about $1,005 to each property.

About half the residents surveyed favoured completing all of the work in one phase. However, staff noted that they also supported a 30-year repayment, indicating cost was a significant factor.

The Magic Lakes Estates Committee, anticipating that a referendum to borrow the entire amount might not succeed, recommended first proceeding with phase one at a cost of $6 million and looking for grants to complete the rest of the work.

“Through the consultation process with the community, the recommendation was to proceed with the critical works to meet the regulatory requirements, which constitutes the $6-million Phase 1 package,” said Ted Robbins, general manager of integrated water services.

“The committee did recommend proceeding with Phase 1, to also apply for infrastructure grants for up to $3 million to complete some necessary works in what was considered to be phase two. So we’ll look for grant opportunities,” he said.

Robbins noted, however, that securing grants might be challenging, as the community received a multi-million-dollar grant within the past five years to complete upgrades to the water system.

“In consultation with the province, that point hasn’t been forgotten and they were non-committal in terms of the possibility of receiving several more million in grant funding for the wastewater service,” Robbins said.

Capital Regional District directors agreed Wednesday that the borrowing referendum should be held Nov. 23. Advance voting will be held Nov. 13 and Nov. 20.

bcleverley@timescolonist.com

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