One developer drops out of Bowser sewer deal

Board to hold special meeting to approve DCC’s frontender agreement

First there were five developers. Now there are only four developers who are set to enter into an agreement with the Regional District of Nanaimo that would require them to fund 85 per cent of the cost of the $10.7 million Bowser Village Centre Wastewater Project.

The support of the developers is a vital component of the project in order for it to proceed. The proposed Bowser sewer system will have three components — a collection system ($3,877,154), a wastewater treatment plant ($4,262,962), and effluent disposal ($2,541,395).

The project has already been approved for a $7.6 million Clean Water and Wastewater Fund and, initially, the balance not covered by the grant was to be paid for by 99 property owners — or 107 parcels — located in the proposed sewer service area. To reduce the cost to parcel owners, developers in Bowser made a commitment to the RDN to pay in advance development cost charges (DCCs) for future property developments, amounting to approximately $2.7 million. The proposed rate for a residential DCC is $14,888 per unit.

The board has called a special meeting for Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 3 p.m. at the RDN board chambers to vote on the development cost charge front-ender agreement with the developers.

There were five developers that initally agreed to buy into the agreement but one — Magnolia Enterprises Ltd. — had dropped out. That leaves A.G. Project Management Inc., owned by Alan Grozell; Coral Ice Developments, owned by Keith Reid; Ballard Fine Homes Ltd., owned by Donald Ballard; and James Walter Foulds and Lenny Agustin Foulds to carry the deal through.

The RDN staff proposed to the board to redistribute the capacity allocation, or dwelling unit equivalents, to the remaining four participants. Ballard Fine Homes Ltd would fork out the highest amount at $1,161,264, which is 44 per cent for 78 lots. A.G. Project Management would pay $923,056 for 62 lots, followed by James Walter Foulds and Lenny Augustin Foulds, who would contribute $297,760 for 20 lots, and Coral Ice Developments, $253,096 for 17 lots.

The property owners along the proposed sewer service area will share the 15 per cent balance of the project’s cost not covered by the DCCs and grant.

For a one-acre parcel or less, parcel owners will pay a flat fee of $2,900. For parcels larger than one acre, owners will pay on a per-square-metre basis at a rate of $0.717 per square metre, or $2,900 per acre. However, not entailed in the project cost is the annual operating and maintenance charges — estimated at $150,000 per year — that property owners would be required to pay.

Some properties may require on-site pumps, to be paid for by the RDN. But the regional district will not cover installation or the link into the sewer mains. A one-time cost for a single-family residence can range from $1,000 to $5,000.

While the RDN board endorsed the project, giving three readings to each of the bylaws required to get the infrastructure initiative moving last month, there are property owners outside the proposed sewer service area fighting the marine outfall option being chosen to discharge treated effluence.

The Stop Bowser Ocean Sewage group has a petition with over 650 signatures and is hoping the RDN will consider investigating a land disposal option.

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