EDITORIAL: Sewer debate has nasty stink

Residents waiting 35 years for sewers subjected to more delays.

It’s tough to fault Green Lake residents for raising a stink after waiting more than three decades for sewers.

To make matters worse, many have paid for the service toward which they’ve yet to see any progress, with council after council debating or delaying spending.

Even more frustrating is the fact the city doesn’t know how much was collected in sewer fees and charges from area residents.

Granted, the fee collection systems are especially complex and have changed over the years, hopefully for the better, making tracking difficult. But that doesn’t change the fact residents shelled out for a service from which they have yet to benefit.

The argument that sewer fees are like school taxes – everyone pays because everyone benefits – doesn’t hold water. What benefit are homeowners who aren’t connected to sewers getting for their money? It certainly isn’t helping them pay for their aging and failing septic systems.

And that argument could easily be flipped around. Since everyone benefits, shouldn’t we all pay to have these properties connected to sewers?

The city is going to residents asking for an 80:20 spending ratio, after an earlier offer to cover 60 per cent was rejected.

But considering these residents already paid a certain, unknown amount toward sewers, the city needs to determine – or even get a rough idea – how much money was collected.

Until it has that figure, it is disingenuous to ask these 107 property owners to spend thousands more toward the $3.2-million cost to connect them to municipal sewers, not to mention the additional $1,800 connection fee and thousands more for the necessary pumps.

Frankly, nearly everything about this sewer situation stinks.

Nanaimo News Bulletin