The villages of Montrose and Fruitvale have pulled out of the regional Liquid Waste Management Plan (LWMP) at Stage 2 of the process, opting to go it alone in delivering waste services to their respective municipalities.
The high cost of regional waste service to the respective communities was cited as the reason for the exodus, with Fruitvale being required to ante up close to $9 million, while Montrose had to add in another $7 million.
Those were initial construction costs and then there would be ongoing maintenance costs, said Lila Cresswell, the chief administrative officer for the Village of Fruitvale.
Cresswell said Fruitvale council commissioned a separate study of the long term options of the Fruitvale Sewer Treatment Plant to see what it could get for the $9 million it was expected to pay for the regional service.
“It came in that, very simply, we could have a very state-of-the-art plant. Also that we would not need to build one until about 2040,” she said. “So it wasn’t a good deal.”
Fruitvale council voted earlier this year to exit the regional LWMP at Stage 2 of the process, while on Dec. 31 the Village of Montrose council did the same.
Stage 1 of the LWMP was completed and approved by the province in 2008. That stage of the plan identified the need for the mandatory inclusion of the communities of Fruitvale and Montrose into Stage 2 planning process due to discharges to a small fish bearing stream.
During the Stage 2 process, the province communicated that it was not mandatory for the participation the villages of Fruitvale and Montrose in the regional plan, and the municipalities pulled out.
The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) owns the Columbia Pollution Control Centre (Columbia PCC), the primary treatment sewerage facility that provides regional wastewater collection, treatment and disposal for the municipalities of Trail, Rossland and Warfield as well as the two smaller adjacent communities of Oasis and Rivervale.
RDKB chief administrative officer John MacLean said when the LWMP was first undertaken in 2007 it was to deal with the original three partners and the Beaver Valley communities were an add on to the process.
“The province wanted us to see if it there was a financial make sense case and there wasn’t one for those two communities,” MacLean said.
The last draft of the LWMP will now be vetted through the RDKB’s LWMP steering committee. A resolution was passed last week to take the plan out to the public for consultation.
Ultimately, there will need to be a tax increase to cover the $25 million in capital costs.