West Fernie servicing and restructure project will move forward

The West Fernie servicing and restructure project will be moving forward.

The West Fernie servicing and restructure project will be moving forward.

The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) released the unofficial petition results for the project this morning.

Fifty-four per cent, or 126 of the total number of properties in the proposed service area, signed petitions for the project, Area A Director Mike Sosnowski said in a press release.

“We have been working on this project for several years and I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to participate in the process, both in favour and opposed,” he said. “Although the final results won’t be known until July 29 when the petition is certified, the project has received enough support to move forward.”

Several questions about the project were addressed during a meeting at the Fernie Family Centre last Wednesday.

Engineering Services Manager Brian Funke said one common question was if residents not in the first phase of the project would have the same financial terms when their phase proceeds.

Funke said yes, the same financial implications would apply and the only uncertainly is the time of when the upgrades and financial terms would occur.

“Phase two will proceed when the funding becomes available,” he said.

The RDEK expects the first phase of the project to proceed in 2017 with sewer and storm drainage services being implemented at that time.

But those in the first phase of the project will not being paying full city taxes until several years later, Funke said.

Residents also asked how future building projects would fit into the RDEK’s initiative.

One resident asked if she could wait to connect to city lines and stay on septic until her building project was completed, while another resident asked about vacant properties and when his build date would be.

Funke said that new property build dates would be when the services become available in that area, which is dependent on which phase that individual is in.

In terms of waiting to connect to city lines, Funke said residents can wait, but they will still be paying city taxes once the project in completed.

Future development was another question brought up.

“One big one that came up last time at the meeting and a few people have asked, it has to do with the planning and the zoning and what happens when this goes ahead,” Funke said. “Are we going to start to see significant additional development?”

The existing zoning; the Official Community Plan (OCP) would remain in place when West Fernie is integrated into the city, Funke said.

The OCP would not be amended until the city of Fernie decides to amend it and that application would require public input before being approved.

Residents were also concerned about receiving notice that the flood control service bylaw had been adopted.

A new flood control service bylaw allowing Area A to raise money for diking and mitigations programs was passed during the most recent RDEK meeting.

Residents questioned if they would be responsible for dike costs as part of Area A.

Now that West Fernie has unofficially become part of the city, residents will no longer remain part of that service.

Funke said it is likely the West Fernie dike would eventually become a responsibility of the city.

The final petition results will be posted on www.westfernie.ca. For more information, contact the RDEK office in Cranbrook.