The Regional District East Kootenay (RDEK) is using an alternative approval process to determine if the electors are in favour of changes to the Hosmer Septage Ponds.
As it currently stands, the RDEK is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the Hosmer Septage Ponds under the Elk Valley Subregion Waste Management Service. The RDEK is proposing to create a new service, Area A Septage Disposal Service, which would operate separately from the Elk Valley Subregion Waste Management Service. The separation would provide greater clarity that Area A is responsible for the cost of the septage ponds and will be the sole benefactor of the revenue it generates.
“There is no change or move to a new service area,” said Shannon Moskal, Corporate Officer for the RDEK. “We are just taking it out of the [management] that it is currently sitting in and moving it to one by itself. It’s to make the administration more clear.”
Instead of putting the issue to a vote, the RDEK is implementing an alternative approval process, in which electors have to inform the RDEK if they are against the change. Ten per cent of the electoral base, which equates to 138 people, have to be against the change to stop the process.
“There are several different processes that we can follow under the local government act depending on what we are looking to do,” said Moskal. “They call it the alternative approval process. It’s where you don’t say yes, you say no. It’s a little bit confusing because people aren’t use to it.”
Electors of areas affected by the proposed change will be eligible to submit an electoral response form, available on the RDEK website, stating they are opposed to the proposed changes. The deadline for submissions is Apr. 4.
“One of the main reasons we went with this one is because it is much cheaper to do, so it’s not going to be costing taxpayers much, if anything, to put this process on,” said Moskal. “Whereas if we went to a vote, it actually costs quite a bit of money to hold a vote, so that money comes from the tax base.”
The RDEK estimates the maintenance and operation of the septage pond will cost $56,700 in 2016, but will generate revenues of $400,000. They intend to use the surplus to offset the taxation for the Area A Flood Control Service.