A petition is all that stands in the way of more than 300 properties in Lantzville hooking up to a municipal sewer system.
Lantzville councillors approved three readings of its Phase 3 Sanitary Sewer Collection System Local Area Service establishment bylaw, which will result in 307 properties receiving municipal sewer service at a total cost of $6.8 million, late last month.
Phase 3 is budgeted at $6.9 million with $4.4 million covered by a grant that Lantzville will receive from the New Building Canada Fund. The district plans to borrow the remaining $2.5 million, which will then be recovered through a tax on property owners.
According to staff report, each of the 307 property owners within the service area will need to pay a one-time fee of $8,165. Property owners can elect to waive the one-time fee and repay the $8,165 through an annual parcel tax of $590 over a 20-year period. The annual parcel tax rate includes interest and would result in an owner paying a total of $11,800 over the 20-year term.
The entire project could be put in jeopardy should property owners within the service area submit a petition against Phase 3 and the district’s taxation plan. The petition must be submitted to the District of Lantzville by 4 p.m. on Sept. 5 and must contain signatures from more than 50 per cent of property owners living in the service area.
Trudy Coates, Lantzville’s director of corporate administration, said property owners should have already received the petition form in the mail, adding that if there is more than one owner on the property then the majority of them must sign the form if they don’t want sewer service.
“If they want sewer service then they don’t have to do anything, but if they’re opposed to it and don’t want to have that local area service then they need to fill out that form,” she said. “There is one form per property. If there are eight owners, they don’t get to send in eight forms. They don’t get eight votes.”
Lantzville sewer Phases 1 and 2 were completed in 2005 and 2007 respectively and had to go through the same process as Phase 3.
Coates said she doesn’t believe there were many petition forms against the first two phases, but wasn’t sure because it was before she was employed with the district. She said should the petition be successful, the entire sewer project would be cancelled.
“Council can’t continue with the project,” she said. “The project would end because without them [property owners] we can’t go ahead.”