George faces bigger bill for Prowse Road lift station

The George Hotel and Residences will now be expected to pay an estimated $330, 516.79 in non-development cost charge (DCC) contributions to the upgrade of the Prowse Road sewer lift station in Gibsons.

Council heard July 16 that the increase is the result of updated calculations and a staff review of the rates to be charged as part of the Prowse Road Lift Station Excess Services Bylaw.

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The bylaw would determine how much new developments that would hook into the sewer lift station contribute to upgrading the facility, over and above the DCCs the Town collects for sewer infrastructure.

In a report to council, director of infrastructure services, Dave Newman, said about 53 per cent of the $1.8 million cost of the Prowse Road upgrades will be recouped through the excess services charges and the remaining 47 per cent will be covered through normal DCCs.

Newman said although the George Hotel and Residences is not covered by the bylaw because its contribution will come through a development agreement, the same formula is being used and he felt including the George numbers in the report was important for both the public and council.

The size of the George’s contribution was also a key issue raised by people who campaigned against the Town’s recent Alternate Approval Process (AAP) effort to support a $1.76 million loan for the Prowse Road upgrades.

“This bylaw does not apply to the George, because we’ll receive the same amount of money through the development agreement, but they’ve become very much connected,” Newman said.

Newman told council that the original figure of $144,695 that the George developer would be asked to pay was too low because a conversion from potential commercial floor area to land area led to an under-calculation.

According to Newman’s written report, “Based on the new proposed rates as well as applying the new floor area calculation results in a calculated amended contribution of $330,516.79 for the George. This translates to an 82% increase in residential charges and a 157% increase in commercial from the initial calculations.”

Newman also said that although passage of the bylaw isn’t necessary to secure the George contribution, it is urgent because the upgrade work will start soon and other developments will need to contribute.

“We don’t have any other development agreements that address a contribution toward the Prowse Road lift station, so this excess service charges bylaw addresses all the other developments,” Newman said. “We are already approving developments that are falling under the old rates and so we’re not realizing the amount that we should be and it may be very significant if there’s a further delay on this bylaw.”

There were several questions from the public gallery about whether the calculations of the George contribution were still too low, especially related to commercial floor space area.

Newman said a detailed calculation would be made once final construction drawings are submitted and assessed by the Town’s building department, he also said the area used as parking space is not usually included – for any project.

“That’s consistent with our DCC bylaws,” he said.

The proposed bylaw also has a clause allowing new calculations based on updated construction costs for the Prowse Road work.

At the end of the council meeting, councillor Annemarie De Andrade said the staff review of the formulas and the resulting updates are also an example of public involvement leading to a positive outcome.

“Clearly public input is not only valid, but needed in this community. The report indicates that the consultant made a mistake, staff didn’t notice, but citizens came forward with concerns about the development’s contribution and asked questions that led to results. It’s a win-win situation for all of us.”

The excess services bylaw was scheduled for an adoption vote at the July 23 council meeting, along with the first three readings of a bylaw authorizing the Town to take out a temporary loan until the $1.76 million in long term debt comes through in April 2020.

A report from director of finance Dave Douglas said staff with work on the project set to begin later this summer with a planned completion date of spring 2020, the Town needs cash flow to cover invoices that will come in as soon as construction begins.

 

 

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