The cost of operating Sechelt’s Water Resource Centre is coming in close to the forecasts in a report from the accounting firm Deloitte, but the amount the district is paying for electricity, water and utilities and other line items is trending upward.
A report presented to Sechelt’s parks, public works and environment committee on July 25 said the total operating cost was $1,237,886 for 2017 and $1,318,025 for 2016. The Deloitte forecasts for those years came in at $1,314,000 and $1,258,000.
The report said, “Higher operating costs for wages and benefits; consumables; insurance, licences and permits; hydro, water and utilities [were] offset by lower costs for administration, contracted services and rentals.”
The Deloitte report also included a review of electricity consumption for the WRC, as measured between April and November of 2015, which found the facility was using approximately 13 per cent more energy per unit of wastewater treated than the consortium that built the WRC suggested it would.
“Furthermore, [the review] compared the WRC to similarly-sized plants and noted that the WRC consumes more energy per unit of wastewater than comparable plants.”
The report to the committee also noted that in 2017 hydro, water, and utilities costs were higher than Deloitte’s forecast by $12,997 or 7.9 per cent due to “higher than anticipated fees for biosolids and other waste transportation and higher water user fees due to adjustments for the new metered water billing from the SCRD [Sunshine Coast Regional District].”
The report goes on to say that for 2018, hydro, water, and utilities are trending over budget “assuming activity levels remain constant for the remainder of the year.”
Biosolids and other waste transportation costs are already over budget as well.
“If the operational performance of the plant continues as is, the increased operational costs will require additional funding,” the report concludes.
Director of finance Doug Stewart said there will be more up-to-date information as part of the 2019 budget discussion.
“It’s unfortunate that it looks like there’s been a higher amount to run the plant than perhaps our baseline would have indicated … because that money could be used for other projects – sewer related, or other projects within the district,” Coun. Darren Inkster, the committee chair, said. “We know over 10 years a larger amount would mean 10 times that amount… You could put in a lot of roads and sidewalks for that.”
District staff also told the committee they are currently reviewing two proposals for a review of the operations at the WRC, including one from Veolia, one of the companies involved in the original project.