Sicamous is still working to get all properties hooked up to sewer but is willing to work with those still outstanding.
Approximately 25 people showed up to an open house on the matter on Sept. 8, where district staff invited them to ask questions and voice concerns about sewer connections, with roughly 1,400 hooked up and less than 100 still not connected.
Failure to do so by the Dec. 1 deadline will result in a non-compliance fee, with residents on the east side of the Narrows having had a deadline of Nov. 30, 2015. Non-compliance at that time resulted in a $457 fee – equivalent to the annual sewer flat rate – which will go up to $914 next year, $1,828 in 2018 and $3,656 by 2019.
“We have a total of 91 properties that have yet to hook up. We do not want to be levying non-compliant fees, we don’t want to see it doubling and tripling, it’s a disincentive. We recognize that there are some challenges, so we’re asking all the residents who have not hooked up to fill out a one-page questionnaire,” town manager Evan Parliament explained, adding that it’s available in hard copy at the district office as well as online at www.sicamous.ca.
In his report on the issue, Parliament looked at the key questions of why those last few connections are still outstanding, and how the district can encourage and support them in hooking up. H
He suggested developing a sewer connection policy that would see the fee and connection requirement waived if the property is a development still underway or if the costs of hooking up are in excess of $10,000. That, however, would come with the condition that the current septic system is fully functioning and that a covenant would be placed on title pending the property selling, the septic failing or development completion.
Another option would be to waive the non-compliance fee and have the district help with the connection should the owner be able to prove financial hardship. Sicamous would then pay for the work to be completed, giving the resident three years to repay the amount with interest, while any outstanding amount at the end of that term being applied to property taxes.
“There’s different options we’ve looked at,” Parliament said, adding that the full report is available on the district website. “We’re committed to consulting with people and coming up with a fair policy on those that remain outstanding.”