Lantzville councillors may not all be on the same page when it comes to the recent approval of pipeline to Nanaimo, but they did manage to all agree on one thing relating to the pipeline’s construction.
At last week’s meeting, Lantzville councillors voted unanimously to have district staff submit a grant application for the Canada-British Columbia Clean Water and Wastewater Fund.
If successful, the grant, which is offered by the provincial government, would help recover some of the costs relating to the construction of an $800,000 pipeline to Nanaimo that councillors recently approved.
Mayor Colin Haime, who put forth the motion, told councillors that the grant covers up to 83 cents to the dollar. He also said that while he doesn’t believe the district should be putting pipe in the ground right now, he does believe there should be some kind of financial plan in place that doesn’t see the district placing the burden strictly on taxpayers.
“We are trying to do planning after the fact,” he said. “We’ve approved a pipe … if you look at our financial plan, within a couple of years we will have two years’ worth of debt, so it is important for us to figure out how to pay for things rather than it being on the backs of residents.”
Earlier this year, the developer of a proposed seniors centre in Lantzville informed the district in a letter that should the development be approved, he would be willing to cover the construction costs related to the water pipeline.
Haime said the motion for the grant is simply a matter of trying to ensure some costs are recovered regardless.
“I am trying to make it so it is the least financially onerous to the district itself,” he said.
There was limited discussion by councillors around the motion, however Coun. John Coulson said he would like to see Lantzville applying for infrastructure grants that could be used to provide infrastructure within the district.
He also questioned what would happen if the district was approved for the grant, but the water agreement went south.
“We’ve asked Nanaimo for some amendments. No feedback. There is still some legal concerns outstanding surrounding the agreement, so if the agreement is overturned, we’ve now used grant money for a project we’re not actually doing. That would impact our ability to get grant money in the future, I would think,” he said.
Coun. Denise Haime said the grant money should be used to recover any costs that taxpayers have shouldered.
“If we get the grant, we put it back into the water capital reserve so we pay back the existing residents’ share, which is really where it should go,” she said.
The district has until later next month to apply for the grant.