For at least one residence, the deadline to connect to municipal sewer won’t be extended any further.
At its last meeting, council voted not to support a request by Megan McFarlane to extend the sewer connection deadline another year beyond the Nov. 30 deadline for her rental property on Rauma Crescent.
In a letter to council, McFarlane bases her request on the precarious employment situation in Alberta and the layoffs and cutbacks in her hometown of Hinton, and the need for a new roof and eaves on her Rauma residence.
If approved, this would have been a second extension to the sewer connection deadline. In December, council supported a recommendation to extend the deadline from June 30 to Nov. 30 for properties east of the narrows. This extension was recommended by district staff in response to concerns raised by contractors and homeowners facing challenges installing sanitary sewer service due to higher than normal groundwater.
“The high groundwater table is causing installation and safety issues,” community planning officer Mike Marrs explained in a report to council. “Attempting to address the water and safety issues is also adding to the property owner’s connection cost.”
Marrs explained at the time that more than 400 residences had not yet been connected and, by extending the deadline, staff hoped to help ease related financial pressures while dealing with the groundwater situation.
Responding to McFarlane’s letter, Coun. Jeff Mallmes said he felt leery about approving the request, worried it would set a precedent. Other councillors agreed, including acting deputy mayor Malcolm Makayev, who said the intent of a potential extension would relate to “undue hardship.”
“In my mind, hardship might be like… God forbid a death in the family, or a hurricane or a fire and you don’t have any insurance and you lose your contents,” said Makayev. “To me this doesn’t seem to… fall under intent of hardship. I agree, we might get a few more of these depending on where we go with this.”
Mallmes put forward a resolution to deny McFarlane’s request, and it was supported unanimously by council.