Bralorne Sewer Update
Hope everyone is doing well, as usual, there is lots going on and many things to keep us all busy. One of the things that seems to need a bit of an update is the Bralorne Sewer project.
I reached out to Director Demare and asked for a quick update that I could distribute. He was good enough to pass on my inquiry to the SLRD, and they responded with the letter below, I feel fortunate that we as the BCAC, were able to get the attention of the SLRD in a timely fashion considering the rather unusual times at hand.
I hope that this is helpful. And I encourage everyone to remain vigilant of the project and process, and at the same time exercise patience and tact in their dealings with the SLRD.
It is my strong preference that in moving forward, we as a community use the BCAC to try and get our messages of concern to the SLRD, just how to do that remains to be discussed, preferably at a BCAC meeting, but I believe that Bralorne will garner more positive attention by having one point of contact with the SLRD. There are of course exceptions to this, but for general inquires, let’s try to use the BCAC.
Please feel free to contact me anytime with your concerns or ideas.
Please also share this with everyone you think might benefit from it.
Below is what I received from the SLRD:
Sal DeMare forwarded your letter to me for comment. I have prepared a statement for you to share with those who pay into the sewer service. I recognize that in your position, you need to be able to respond to constituents who ask for information and that you’d like it to be accurate.
In an earlier email (sent a couple of weeks ago), I asked for patience until the COVID-19 crisis has abated as the SLRD is, as are all other local governments, responding to immediate and urgent matters in unprecedented times as a result of the pandemic. Please also appreciate that with the resignation of the SLRD’s long-time CAO at the end of February due to her relocation to another town, the SLRD has an Interim CAO. Until the appointment of a permanent CAO in the coming months, the SLRD is and will continue to be understaffed. Also, the Director of Environmental Services is new to her role and is in the process of being brought up to speed amidst all the pandemic-related tasks that are on her plate. However, I can advise you that she is actively working on what needs to be done to complete this project.
I hope that this statement will be useful to you in your community.
SLRD STATEMENT ON BRALORNE SEWER PROJECT May 1, 2020. The sewer project has been ongoing for several years and is still not fully complete. For a detailed account of progress, please use the following link to the SLRD website: https://www.slrd.bc.ca/inside-slrd/current-projects-initiatives/bralorne-sewer-upgrade There will be an update posted on this webpage to address next steps, recognizing the impacts of the evolving pandemic on staff priorities.
You’ll recall that the SLRD has gone through the following processes to obtain the elector approval that was required to secure the additional funding required to complete this project:
- The first AAP was related to Bylaw No. 1594, which sought to increase the service area’s maximum annual requisition to $70,000 (to facilitate debt servicing associated with the long-term loan) and also Bylaw No. 1595, which sought authorization for the long-term loan of up to $700,000 to address a funding shortfall (i.e. after the grant). The AAP related to these bylaws failed on November 15, 2018. The subsequent assent voting related to these bylaws failed on January 26, 2019.
- The second AAP was held in relation to Bylaw No. 1614, which sought to increase the maximum annual requisition to $80,250 (to facilitate a short-term loan of up to $300,000). This AAP succeeded on May 21, 2019.
The previous Area A Director was John Courchesne and he held the office from the local government election in the fall of 2018 until September 21st, 2019. At his recommendation, the Board approved funding of $20,000 per year from BC Hydro Payments in lieu of Taxes (PILT) Funds for a period of five years to be applied to reduce parcel taxes (2019-2023). Following Director Courchesne’s resignation and until the by-election in February 2020, the Area A Director was Steven Oakley and in this capacity during this period of time, he was involved in and aware of the budget development process.
The parcel tax amount for 2020 is estimated to be $349.50 (compared with $346.22 in 2019.)
More work will be done in 2020 to complete the project. The SLRD is awaiting the waste discharge permit for the new facility to be issued by the Ministry of Environment. The timing of this is beyond the SLRD’s control and is estimated to take another 4 – 6 weeks, but with COVID-19, the Province’s process may take longer than planned. Once the permit is issued, the SLRD can then commission the facility.
The SLRD will be commencing with the remaining tie-ins to the properties, taking into consideration the challenges of entering homes with current restrictions in place. The Director of Environmental Services is currently looking at how this can be done safely and in compliance with current physical distancing measures.
The short-term loan (of up to $300,000, as referenced above in relation to Bylaw No. 1614, which was approved via the second AAP) will be brought to the Board for consideration in the coming months.
The 2020 budget for the Bralorne sewer service is available as part of the SLRD’s Financial Plan Bylaw No. 1670-2020 and may be viewed at the following link by scrolling down the document until you reach “Exhibit 2800 – Bralorne Sewer”: https://slrd.civicweb.net/document/120794
There have been two public meetings in Bralorne regarding the sewer project. I have made a commitment to conduct a further meeting in Bralorne once the COVID-19 crisis is past, provided physical distancing requirements can be satisfied. Director DeMare and I will attend along with SLRD staff and will answer all of the questions that have been raised. We also look forward to introducing the new Director of Environmental Services to the community.
Chair, Squamish-Lillooet Regional District