Sanitation replacement has potential for huge bills

City bylaws that deal with development could end up costing some homeowners upwards of thousands of dollars

The wording and interpretation of a bylaw that deals with development could end up in expensive sanitary upgrades for homeowner who need to update their septic tanks.

The issue deals with permits to replace a septic system on Cranbrook properties under two hectares. Under the City of Cranbrook Zoning Bylaw 3737, 2012 and Subdivision and Development Services Bylaw 3633, 2008, a development variance permit would be needed to allow the homeowner to replace the septic in that situation.

At the Oct. 20 council meeting the issue came up as a result of a development variance permit request from a 1404 12th Avenue South to wave the requirement to connect to the sewer system for a property under two hectares.

Engineering staff recommended that council not approve the application for the development variance permit, though noted that the property will be able to connect to the sanitary sewer on 15th Street South for a cost estimated as comparable to the cost to replace the septic.

Mayor Wayne Stetski said the issue will likely have to be dealt with.

“I think for tonight, we’re okay because there is an opportunity for the homeowner to connect to city sewer on 15th Street South, without having to incur any more cost then it would have to replace the existing septic system. The challenge is the interpretation of these bylaws in the past, that suggest that if you are going to replace it with an existing sewer system, that staff has considered it to be a new development.”

Stetski said the requirement would then be that you have to hook up to the city sewer.

“In some cases if there had not been a city sewer access close by it could have cost the proponent potentially millions of dollars to hook up to the city sewer because of the distance away,” he said.

Stetski said from his perspective, if a person is just replacing a septic system on site it shouldn’t be considered a new development.

“Is that a new development? I wouldn’t really consider that a new development.”

Stetski said that historically the city has considered replacing septic systems as new development on that property. He noted that if it was a subdivision it would absolutely be new development, but this is a replacement of an existing septic system.

Stetski said the staff recommendation was acceptable because there is a city sewer close by for the homeowner to connect to for the same cost as a septic replacement.

Coun. Angus Davis said it seems to him that the rules here were just being “blankly enforced.”

“Unless there’s something really, really substantial that would prevent them from doing it, then we need to be a little more positive with the way we treat people that want to spend their money and create an asset and become a taxpayer,” Davis said. “Not everyone in the world wakes up in the morning and thinks ‘I want to spend the rest of my life being a taxpayer.’ You create wealth, you create an asset and that asset is a contributer to the municipality. We need that.”

Pallesen said she read through the bylaws and didn’t find it very clear.

“What if this was a longtime homeowner and they were 65 to 70 and they wanted to stay there but their septic system was done?” Pallesen said, wondering why they would need to apply as a new development to get a septic system done.

Coun. Diana J. Scott agreed with Davis and Pallesen.

“Maintaining and replacing something that is worn out is not necessarily a new development and I think that we should be cognizant of helping out our taxpayers when we can,” she said.

CAO Wayne Staudt noted that council would have to eventually look at whether it is the way the bylaw has been interpreted or the way it is written that’s at fault.

“It’s probably a little bit of both,” Staudt said.

Just Posted

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Prince Charles Secondary School
School District 8 votes in favour of name change for Secondary School in Creston

In an act of reconciliation, a new name will be chosen for Prince Charles Secondary School

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada.
MP Morrison appointed to parliamentary national security committee

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian one of five candidates appointed to national security committee

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Most Read