That was the reaction from Area C Director Jim Abram, who could barely contain his excitement as the Strathcona Regional District’s board of directors signed off on the construction of an expansion to Quadra Island’s sewer system.
“What can I say but ‘wahoo.’ We’ve finally done it,” Abram said at last week’s Wednesday board meeting. “We’re going to actually extend the sewer service.”
The project has been awarded to Campbell River-based Berry & Vale Contracting Ltd. – the lowest of seven tenderers – to the tune of $727,466.
Work will include the installation of roughly 1,265 metres of gravity sewer pipe, 638 m of force main, service connection, pavement restorations, a gravel path and fence.
The project, which is expected to get underway this spring, will connect 47 new properties in the Quathiaski Cove area to the island’s existing sewer system.
Abram, who has been trying for the past seven years to extend the sewer system, thanked all the regional district staff who helped to finally make it a reality.
“Thank you very much to all the staff members who worked on this and everybody who helped make this happen because it’s been a long time coming and there have been a lot of setbacks,” Abram said.
The biggest hurdle was construction costs.
Bids to undertake the work came in over $900,000 in early 2016, which at the time, exceeded the regional district’s budget.
That put the project on hold until last fall when the provincial government announced it would help fund the project through its Clean Water and Wastewater grant. The news got even better when the federal government committed to up its contribution towards the grant from one-third to one-half.
Under that funding formula, the federal government is putting up $684,425 of the project costs while the province is contributing $451,720 and the regional district is making up the remainder, $232,705, through the Area C Community Works Fund. Property owners who are joining on to the sewer system will also be contributing towards the costs.
But Abram said with so many people joining the system, costs will go down, particularly for those on the existing system who have been advocating for reduced sewer costs.
“We’re on our way and we’re going to have 47 new connections to our sewer system which will help with the operating costs,” Abram said.
Basic residential sewer rates on Quadra have soared from $250 in 1999 to $510 in 2015. In 2012, rates were as high as $692 which prompted affected property owners to petition the regional district for some form of relief.
Abram said that now with more properties coming on line, costs will be reduced as more people share in the cost of operating and maintaining the system through user fees.
Berry & Vale has put forward a deadline of 120 calendar days to complete construction of the sewer expansion.
The work comes nearly three years after the project was approved by affected Quadra Islanders in a July, 2014 referendum.