City of Fernie city hall. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

City of Fernie city hall. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

City formally adopts sewer and water bylaw changes to capture campgrounds

Campgrounds were not included in the bylaw language prior to August 2022

The City of Fernie has formally adopted changes to the water and sewer bylaws to include verbiage to capture the one campground within city limits.

According to a staff report on recommended changes to the bylaw back in August, the Fernie RV resort has not been billed under the city’s bylaws for water and sewer hookups since it was opened in 2016.

Instead, the resort had been paying bills towards the city under a temporary rate charge arrangement – but this was not captured in the staff report.

The city’s director of finance, Bryn Burditt, said at the September 26 meeting that the changes to include campgrounds in the bylaw were important for city processes.

“This particular instance is purely the fault of those inadequate city processes,” he said. “It’s not the fault of the campground owner that they were not regularly billed for water and sewer.”

According to the owner of the Fernie RV Resort, Reto Barrington, he had secured written agreements for his business to pay a fee of $11.50 per site per month to cover water and sewer until the city updated it’s own bylaws.

The resort paid that feed annually up to 2019 into general revenue, when the city stopped sending him invoices. The expense for water and sewer stayed on the books for the businesses as an accrued liability.

According to Burditt, the city has since confirmed that the resort had been paying the city, and that the new charges would go into effect from from hereon in.

Under the new charges, campgrounds will now be charged $8.83 per campground space per month for water hookup, and $11.17 per space for sewer – which are the same rates hotels are charged per room.

The new changes were adopted unaninmously at the September 26 meeting.

READ MORE: Fernie changes sewer, water charges bylaw to include campgrounds
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