Talk of package sewage treatment plants and urban containment areas dominated discussion about the proposed Eden Bay Estates development during the Aug. 15 regular council meeting in Sechelt.
The proposal calls for 35 residential lots to be built in Tuwanek serviced by an onsite sewage treatment plant.
“My only concern apart from the private package system was that this development is once again outside the urban containment area and I’m seeing sort of a trend where we seem to be able to adapt to make arguments in favour of these things going forward,” said Coun. Mike Shanks.
Council has dubbed parcels close to downtown Sechelt as the urban containment area saying development is more suited to lots closer to the downtown core.
Coun. Chris Moore said designating that containment area for development is a mistake.
“It’s not practical. The [urban containment area] should never have been adopted as far as I’m concerned. It should be flexible,” Moore said. “If you want to think of that line think of a rubber band if you want and that may be a better way to look at it.”
Coun. Darnelda Siegers did not speak to the containment area boundary, but did ask when complaints about the proposal sent in by the Tuwanek Ratepayers Association would be dealt with.
The ratepayers’ association had several concerns including the possible failure of a package treatment plant, possible issues with water and marine outfall, and potential hazards relating to the steep slope of the property.
Acting director of development services Andre Boel said anything to do with the treatment plant would be taken care of at the time of subdivision. At that time the developer will have to produce detailed plans, which will need to be assessed by the Ministry of Environment.
“I assume that the provincial government keeps an eye on all those contingency plans,” Boel said, noting any issues dealing with the slope of the property would “be addressed at the time of the development permit.”
His answer seemed to satisfy Siegers, but Moore wanted to deal with what he saw as misinformation circulating about package sewage treatment plants.
“There seems to be a lot of misinformation about the bonding requirements and, having gone through that, what happens with a package system,” Moore said. “There seems to be a lot of fear with citizens that they think they’re going to be left high and dry with a malfunctioning system because of information that was passed around many years ago about older systems.”
Staff suggested a frequently asked questions sheet could be compiled and Coun. Alice Lutes made it a motion, asking that the sheet be forwarded to council for distribution to the public.
A public hearing was set for Eden Bay Estates development following the council meeting, but it was later postponed for various reasons according to Sechelt Mayor John Henderson.
He said more pressing priorities and staff vacations were the cause of the postponement.