With dozens of proposals to build everything from single family residences to multi-million dollar resorts within the District of Sechelt right now, I'm left wondering how the town's infrastructure can handle such growth.
At every single Sechelt council meeting, former mayor Joyce Kolibas stands up to ask about the sewer system and its capacity to handle such major development within Sechelt's borders.
At every single council meeting, councillors smile and say they know about her concerns. But nothing ever seems to be done to address them.
Now that there are significant projects going ahead that will need to be hooked up to our sewer system, even some councillors are questioning the infrastructure's ability to keep up.
Coun. Warren Allan said this week he may not vote in favour of any more development until he knows for certain the sewer can handle the increased capacity. Good for you, Warren. I wish others were thinking the same way.
We were told months ago the Sechelt sewage treatment plants were "nearing capacity" and something needed to be done quickly to address the problem.
Since then the District has been working with the Sechelt Indian Band to acquire land to build a new plant, looking for money from the provincial government to finance the expenditure and seeking to have its daily limit of ocean discharge upped to handle the increasing sewage in Sechelt.
Here at the paper, we were never given solid numbers saying there is X amount of capacity left and it will take X amount of time to fill that capacity.
That's what we all want to know. What exactly is the capacity left in Sechelt's sewage treatment plants and when will it be full?
Even developers are sitting through entire council meetings to hear more about the sewage concerns. I think it would be of paramount importance to a developer who can't reasonably sell one unit if the toilets can't be flushed.
To address the concerns, the director of engineering is compiling a report on Sechelt's sewer system set to be before council in October. The council is also looking at requiring new developments to put in their own package treatment plants on site to combat the problem. Seems they've realized their vision of "a sewer for every home" is too grand at this time.
I understand the catch 22, however. To build a new treatment plant we need more money, lots of money. Where does that money come from? Partially from new developments that pay development cost charges, of course. The District is putting money aside from all these new developments to go toward the sewer upgrades, but when do we stop and say we need to take care of our current residents first? Let's push for grants, continue negotiating with the Sechelt Indian Band and stop approving developments until we know exactly what we can accommodate.