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West Kelowna smelling like roses after sewage grant success

Saturday, March 27th, 2010 | 5:31 pm

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By John McDonald

Persistence in applying for infrastructure grants has West Kelowna council enjoying the sweet smell of sewage success.

The district learned last month that it had secured an additional $5.1 million grant after another B.C. community, Oak Bay on Vancouver Island, could not meet the deadline for “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects which requires the work to be complete by March, 2011.

Combined with a previous grant of $6 million and an additional $800,000 from the district’s sewer reserve fund, voted in by council earlier this month, the money means homeowners who thought they were going to pay just under $10,200, will now pay $8,400 to get off of aging septic systems and onto deep sewer.

“This is great news. The mayor was quite dogged in pursuing the grant,” said Kirsten Jones, communications coordinator for the district, who added that the new sewer money will even flow to people who have already had the work done.. “Even people who have already paid for their connection will get a reimbursement check.”

There is a catch. To complete phase two done before next year’s deadline, some houses in phase one are being pushed back a year. Homeowners in the Dunbarton Road, Webber Road North and McIvor Road areas of Glenrosa and Hayman and Thacker Roads area of Lakeview Heights will now get their sewer connections in 2011 and 2012 instead of next year.

But the tradeoff is that homes in Glenrosa’s McGinnis Road and Gates Road plus Hudson Road in Lakeview Heights will now get connections by early next year.

“We are under the gun to get this done,” said Jones.

Another slight wrinkle is the need to petition residents to see if they are willing to pay for the connections. A minimum of 50 per cent must agree in order to proceed, but Jones said she doubts there will be much opposition.

“This was council’s number one concern for a reason,” she added. “We’ve had a lot of people saying ‘when is this going to happen’, so I doubt you will get a majority that says no.”

Most of the houses in the affected areas are up to 40 years old and are connected to septic systems that are at least 20 years old that are starting to fail.

john@kelowna.com

250-575-0521

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