Preliminary estimates show it will cost $36.5 million to connect nearly 800 properties in Rayleigh and Karindale to the city’s sewer system at a point in Westsyde.
Residents in those neighbourhoods will now have to decide whether they want to continue with the process, including footing a large chunk of the bill. It is estimated to cost each property $45,000.
The city’s development and sustainability committee received a report on Monday (Sept. 27) detailing the results of a $75,000 study approved by council last year and completed in the summer, following desire from some residents to connect to the city’s system.
The study examined cost and necessary infrastructure.
The city’s engineering manager, Deven Matkowski, told KTW the $36.5-million price tag would go toward installation of pumping stations and underground pipes to property lines to collect sewage, impacting about 2,100 residents. The sewage would be transported underground — in the case of Rayleigh, across the North Thompson River — and connect to the city’s system to be treated at the city’s wastewater-treatment facility on Mission Flats Road for eventual redistribution back into the Thompson River.
The area's sewage is currently being managed by private in-ground septic fields and community septic fields owned and operated by the Rayleigh Waterworks District, servicing 147 Rayleigh properties. Karindale and Rayleigh are among the last remaining neighbourhoods in Kamloops yet to be connected to the city’s sewer system, according to the city.
Matkowski said the last area to connect was Rose Hill, which occurred about a decade ago. Properties north of The Dunes at Kamloops Golf Course in Westsyde and some properties in Barnhartvale are not connected, the result of amalgamation, urban sprawl and topography.
Septic fields are common in rural areas, but the city is working toward densification, Matkowski said. He said adding to the cost of the project is the need to upgrade pipes in Westsyde and cross train tracks.
Residents are on the hook for 80 per cent ($29.2 million) of the capital costs, which is now the city arrived at the $45,000 cost estimate for each property.
Property owners may also be on the hook for additional individual costs to reroute piping on their land. The remainder of the project costs ($7.3 million) would be funded from the city’s sewer fund, which is paid for through sewer rates charged to residents across Kamloops. It is unclear at this time whether the project, if it were to go forward, would result in a general sewer rate increase.
Residents hooking up to the city sewer system would also be required to pay sewer fees, in addition to the capital costs, once on the city system.
When council approved the study last year, it directed staff to look into grants to help cover some of the costs. On Monday, staff indicated no grant funding opportunities are available for such projects at this time.
“It all depends on what’s coming out from the provincial and federal governments,” Matkowski told the committee.
“I can say, in the past, they have supported it, but I can also say that in reviewing the recent grant programs, water and waste water has not been a recent focus,” he said.
Now that the costs and infrastructure requirements have been examined, the city will go back to residents to ask whether they wish to continue on with the local area service program.
Matkowski explained that will be decided through a preliminary petition process, during which the city would need support from the majority (50 per cent) of properties.
The expression of interest that initially came to the city for the project had been signed by 298 of the 778 property owners, equating to 38 per cent. All properties would be impacted should the project move ahead.
A public engagement session will also take place between the city and impacted residents at a date to be determined.
Staff told the committee on Monday the timing of that will be based on consultation with residents. If the project proceeds, it is estimated to take multiple years to be completed.