The City of Revelstoke is demanding $46,456 in compensation after a Revelstoke Mountain Resort subcontractor illegally dumped raw sewage into sewer drains at the resort multiple times, avoiding disposal fees and causing a stink in the area. They say the practice went on for at least two years.
Revelstoke Mountain Resort owner Northland Properties Corporation doesn’t deny the wrongdoing, or that the illegal dumping cost the city revenue from lost liquid waste dumping fees, but they say the city is overestimating the amount dumped, and the duration of the dumping, and are seeking to pay much less than $46,000.
City public works manager Darren Komonoski said onlookers reported dumping into a sewer system near the luxury homes in the Mackenzie Landing development, which is located above the resort’s base area.
“There [have] been some witnesses that have come forward from the general public reporting that they have witnessed this type of activity from Mackenzie Landing,” he told Revelstoke City Council at their Mar. 26 meeting.
Komonoski noted city staff found “small discharges” had been slopped around a drain opening.
He added the sewer system receiving the effluent could have been damaged. “It’s not meant to receive large discharges at one time,” he said.
Furthermore, the dumping overtaxed the sewer, stinking up the base area of the resort. “We had a smell from Sutton Place [Hotel],” Komonoski said. He didn’t feel any environmental damage had been done.
The city presented its case for $46,456 in compensation in a staff report discussed at the Mar. 26 council meeting.
In the report, city engineering director Mike Thomas said the city began investigating earlier this year. (See the complete report embedded at the bottom of this story.)
He noted shipments from the resort to a city waste receiving facility near the Illecillewaet River had dropped dramatically. Under a city bylaw, the resort is required to dump at city facilities and pay for the service.
The waste in question comes from the mid-mountain day-lodge and outhouses on the mountain.
The report said another contractor was handling the resort’s waste up until February of 2011, when the resort switched to Hard Hammer Construction, a contractor carrying out work for Northland Properties Corporation.
The amount shipped to the city facility dropped dramatically between February of 2011 until February of 2013, when city staff began investigating.
According to a report by Thomas, in 2009, the city received almost 1,700 cubic metres of waste from Revelstoke Mountain Resort. That dropped to just 391 cubic metres in 2012; the report argues the volume should have increased because the human traffic at the resort has increased.
Thomas calculated the lost revenues from dumping based on previous volumes. The city is still reserving the right to take punitive measures.
A letter from Northland’s lawyer disputes the cost and amount dumped illegally, saying a fine of over $6,400 would be “excessive.”
Revelstoke Mayor David Raven told the Times Review the calculations used to determine the amount used were “very conservative.”
Raven underscored the city’s displeasure: “I approach it from the perspective that it’s actually theft,” he said. “It’s using a service that should be paid for.”
He also addressed a recent change in the amount demanded from Northlands for compensation. A staff report posted online late last week demanded over $70,000 from Northland. Raven said the city had since re-calculated the amount of missing effluent and come up with the lower figure. He denied any deal had been struck with Northland.