Thomas Brook water users ask to join city

Group of property owners near Revelstoke Mountain Resort want to join the City of Revelstoke, but only if they can access the city's water.

The Thomas Brook boundary extension would encompass the area in red above.

A group of homeowners living near Revelstoke Mountain Resort want to join the City of Revelstoke, but only if they can get access to the city’s water.

The Thomas Brook water users have formally asked to be annexed to the city, but the request is conditional on reaching an agreement for the city to extend its water system to the area.

The annexation would bring 23 properties located on Camozzi, Leidloff, and McInnes Roads into the city.

Council supported the request at its regular meeting on Tuesday. “It’s a serious problem and I’m glad we’re working together to come up with a solution.” said Mayor Mark McKee.

Most of the properties are serviced by an aging water system that draws from Thomas Brook on the lower slopes of the resort, however they were placed on a boil water advisory by Interior Health and have been given until 2018 to resolve the issue. Other properties in the area use private wells.

City policy requires properties to become part of the city in order to access city water and sewer.

Earlier this year, 15 of the 23 property owners agreed to explore annexation and accessing city sewer and water, while the rest could not be reached.

However, annexation would be contingent on establishing a local area of service — something that would need approval by both the residents and council.

The City of Revelstoke has budgeted almost $1 million to extend the water and sewer lines into the neighbourhood, an amount that would be paid back by the property owners over a number of years. How that figure would be divided amongst the residents remains to be determined.

Council is being asked to approve the boundary extension request and to direct staff to prepare a financial impact analysis on the servicing and infrastructure maintenance costs associated with the boundary extension.

The request also needs to be referred to senior government ministries, First Nations and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.

“Once the referral responses have been received and the financial impact analysis has been completed, staff will report to council with the results and request approval to submit the package to the province for their review,” says a staff report by Dean Strachan, the city’s manager of development services. “If the province approves the application to proceed, they will forward a report to the city outlining the steps they wish the city to undertake prior to final submission for boundary extension.”

That final step will likely require a referendum of local property owners, writes Strachan.

“This is the first step in the process,” he told council on Tuesday. “It can be a lengthy process.”

A neighbouring boundary extension request by David & Shelley Evans to allow for the construction of a boutique treehouse hotel has taken more than 1.5 years.

There is one technicality to the request — the city can’t form a local area of service until the area is part of the city, meaning the boundary extension must be approved before the extension of water service is.

When asked about that at Tuesday’s council meeting, staff said they would let the property owners know of the costs of receiving water and sewer before the boundary extension goes forward. If they or the city change their mind after the fact, the property owners would find themselves part of the city, without water.

However, this is an unlikely scenario.

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