The regional sewer service will not be split up if the referendum in Rossland, Warfield and Trail passes on Saturday.
The joint line of the three municipalities, referred to simply as the “700 line” will still be a three-way regional service operated and maintained by the East End Regional Sanitary Sewer Service. (Costs on the 700 line are determined by volume, which is measured by flow meters)
What the referendum will do, if passed, is give Rossland ownership of the line that only services Rossland properties. Likewise, Trail will take care of a sole line that carries sewage from Sunningdale to the East Trail interceptor, that’s if the referendum passes.
Rossland Mayor Kathy Moore is on record asking residents to vote ‘yes’ on Election Day.
“It’s really an administrative detail that needs to be cleaned up,” Mayor Moore told the Rossland News. “It’s going to have a minuscule impact on fees. If anything, we’ll save a little money on it because we think our public works can maintain that pipe cheaper than paying the regional district …”
Trail Coun. Robert Cacchioni, a long-time committee member, is also asking electors to consider a “yes” vote on Saturday.
“There seems to be some confusion about the vote on the sewer issue,” he said, mentioning the matter dates back seven years. “Trail voters should consider voting yes on both issues because what it does, is it allows the City of Trail to look after their own line, and Rossland to look after their line.”
Warfield is thrown into the referendum mix because it is a partner in the service. The village’s sewer lines will remain under full ownership of the regional district.
The sewer collection systems (sanitary assets) have been owned by the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) since 1969. The Columbia Pollution Control Centre, or sewer treatment plant, and various pumping (lift) stations help keep the systems running along with the RDKB’s East End sewer service.
BC law requires that a referendum take place to determine if electors in the service area are in agreement with the transfer of these assets from the regional district to the municipalities.
This referendum is being held by the RDKB because Rossland and Trail asked the regional district to transfer these assets to the municipalities they serve.
“In short, they each want to own, operate and maintain the sewage collection pipes that serve each of their communities,” explained regional communications officer Frances Maika.
“Warfield’s sewage collection pipes are shared by Rossland and Warfield, and so will continue to be owned, operated and maintained by the RDKB.”
All three communities will vote on the same two referendum questions:
• Do you assent to the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary disposing of those portions of the sewer service infrastructure that are located within the City of Trail to the City of Trail?
• Do you assent to the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary disposing of those portions of the sewer service infrastructure that are located within the City of Rossland and that portion of the sewer service infrastructure located between the boundary of the City of Rossland and the boundary of the Village of Warfield, to the City of Rossland?
If more than 50 per cent of the total number of ballots counted for each question in the referendum indicate “yes” then the referendum passes for that question.
The referendum does not have to pass in each community for the referendum to pass overall.
A failed referendum question means that the RDKB will continue to own, operate and maintain the relevant asset.