Two more properties will be allowed to hook up to expanded sewer service on Quadra Island thanks to a delay in the project.
The Strathcona Regional District board of directors voted at its Thursday meeting to adjust the boundaries of the project to include two additional properties on Pidcock Road.
Area C Director Jim Abram said he was pleased to see the regional district’s CAO, Dave Leitch, work out a way to include additional properties and potentially lower the costs for those who stand to benefit from the sewer service.
“I just want to thank Dave and his staff for including these properties,” Abram said. “It’s two more properties to draw funding from.”
The original 38 property owners included in the first phase of the project are expected to pay a $9,100 ceiling per property.
The owner of the two properties, which are bounded by the project boundary in the Quathiaski Cove area, asked to be included in the sewer extension project last year.
At the time, however, the project design had already begun and was ready to go out to tender in the coming months.
Regional district staff recommended that because of this, the two properties be included in a future phase two.
The project, however, ended up returning bids that were all significantly over budget and construction of the project, which was approved through a referendum in July, 2014, has yet to get underway.
Victoria Smith, the regional district’s special projects and sustainability manager, told the regional board in April that bids for construction need to come in under $900,000 in order to meet the regional district’s budget.
But, she added, current engineering estimates for 2017 are closer to $1.3 million – a 38 per cent difference.
In an effort to keep the project within the regional district’s means, the board voted at its April 13 meeting to apply to the New Building Canada grant fund, which provides one-third funding from each of the federal and provincial governments, with the remaining funding coming from the regional district.
That move, however, has delayed the project – which will connect properties in Quathiaski Cove to the island’s sewer system – because projects are ineligible for the grant if they have already been awarded to a contractor or if construction has already begun.
At the same time, it has opened the door for the regional district to allow the two additional properties to be included in phase one of the project.
Tom Yates, the regional district’s corporate services manager, said the Pidcock Road properties may wind up bolstering the regional district’s grant application.
“The inclusion of additional properties into the boundaries of the extension project could make the proposal more attractive for the grant funding agencies to consider,” Yates said.
With the regional district board agreeing to change its bylaw to include the two properties, the owner will now be responsible for preparing a petition to be added to the sewer project.
Once that is complete, the board can then proceed with final approval of the bylaw to include the two new properties.
Yates said there is a chance that the Pidcock Road properties will be added in time to be a part of the first phase of the project.
“Since the regional district does not yet know when a decision will be made on its grant funding application, there is every possibility that the bylaws will be in place before the regional district is in a position to re-tender the sewer extension project,” he said.