Regional District of East Kootenay Board Chair Rob Gay, Fernie Mayor Mary Giuliano, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Lisa Beare and RDEK Area A Director Mike Sosnowski celebrate the completion of the West Fernie Servicing and Restructure Project on July 24. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

RDEK freezes West Fernie septic rates

Thanks to a recently adopted motion, West Fernie residents will have two years to adjust to higher septic costs which come as a result of being inducted into the City of Fernie.

The motion was pitched by Fernie Mayor Mary Giuliano as well as a Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) Director at the October 5 RDEK meeting in Cranbrook.

As part of the induction of West Fernie into the City of Fernie, residents were required to start paying septic fees at higher rates as of January 1, 2019. Giuliano introduced the motion to amend Bylaw 2888 for the Area A Septic Regulations and Fees covering the West Fernie area.

The West Fernie Restructure Project involved the installation of infrastructure to provide water and sewer to West Fernie residents.

As part of this project, the City of Fernie agreed to a boundary extension project to incorporate West Fernie. As of December 2017, both development phases of the project became part of the City of Fernie.

The schedule would have fees set at $0.33 per imperial gallon, an increase of over six times the current rate of $0.05 per imperial gallon. The amended bylaw has established that the rate be consistent with the current rates until December 2020.

“I recognized that there is an adjustment period for the West Fernie residents and I wanted to try and mitigate the septic costs where possible following the transition into the City of Fernie,” said Giuliano.

“I introduced the motion to effectively freeze these rates at the current Area A rate of five cents per gallon for the initial two-year period in an effort to make it more affordable and enable the West Fernie residents to decommission septic tanks before it takes effect in December 2020.”

Giuliano added that she was appreciative of the support of her colleagues at the Regional District, and that she is grateful for their continued support, along with the provincial and federal governments, “as we celebrate the completion of this vital project.”

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