West Fernie sewage debate continues

A referendum will find out if West Fernie residents want to leave behind their septic tanks and join up with the City of Fernie’s water and sewage system.

“There’s been an engineering study done, costing the water and sewer system in West Fernie and it came out at $16 million,” said Director of Regional District of East Kootenay Electoral Area A, Mike Sosnowski.

Sosnowski has submitted a grant application to the General Strategic Priorities Fund in preparation for a fall referendum on the subject.

The referendum will ask the residents of West Fernie if they want a water and sewage system. If the referendum is successful then there would be a boundary expansion from the City of Fernie.

Sosnowski said that it is important for the people of West Fernie to understand that by applying for the grant he is not trying to throw support behind either side in the referendum vote.

“It sometimes takes two years for these kinds of applications to go through, that’s why we’ve started the process,” he said. “If the referendum isn’t successful we will simply cancel the grant. But at least if it is successful we’ve got the ball rolling.”

Sosnowski is hoping that at least the senior levels of government would fund 66 per cent of the water and sewage systems, if the referendum is successful.

Currently the water system for West Fernie is supplied and maintained by the City of Fernie, and each property has a septic tank for sewage.

If the referendum isn’t successful, West Fernie would continue with the current system.

For information on the engineering study and the water and sewage visit

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