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Nanaimo pushes sewer connection for Green Lake residents

Green Lake residents will have two years to hook into the municipal sewer system before Nanaimo officials crack down on ‘stragglers.’

Nanaimo city council  opted to phase in fees and give Green Lake-area residents more time to connect to a new municipal sewer system, during an open meeting last week.

The move will give 27 landowners until 2016 to hook into the sewer service before they are given warning notices. People will also see a gradual increase in connection costs instead of an immediate $1,800 charge, beginning in March. The city originally agreed to waive the $1,800 connection fee until Feb. 28.

The move “defers the time when the city is going and [issuing 180-day] notices to connect and allows people a bit more time to find ways to connect both financially and technically,” said Poul Rosen, the city’s manager of engineering projects.

“By the same token, it also increases the cost to people that have waited.”

The City of Nanaimo agreed to install sewer services in the Green Lake area in 2011, almost four decades after amalgamation. There were concerns aging septic systems could be affecting the health of the lake.

It is now mandatory for residents to join the system.

As of this week, the city will charge $600 for connection fees and put notes on property files that limit building permits and subdivisions. The charge will increase to $1,200 in 2015.

So far the majority of landowners – 71 of the potential 98 – have joined the system or are in the process of hooking in. Some people have claimed making the connection will impose a financial hardship, while others say they already have a system that works and don’t plan on using the city system. There will be ‘stragglers,’ said Rosen, adding the city will eventually need to find a way to deal with them.

The waiver program has cost the city approximately $130,000 in lost revenue, while $1.5 million has been spent on design and construction of the new system.

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