City council voted this week to go ahead with an agreement extending the city’s sanitary sewer system to the new Skaha Hills residential development on Penticton Indian Band lands.
The deal is an extension of the existing sanitary sewer agreement signed with the PIB in 2008, and will see the city investing $285,000 from the sanitary sewer surplus to upgrade the line from Skaha Lake Road near the Channel Parkway to Airport Road.
The PIB will pay remaining $84,000 as well as all costs for extending the service to the Skaha Hills development.
“The 2008 agreement already commits the city to provide these services,” explained Mitch Moroziuk, director of operations noting that the city’s portion of the costs covers work that would have been done regardless.
“The Penticton Indian Band line is actually serving as a replacement for an existing line that is very quickly reaching the end of its life.”
Moroziuk also pointed out the city’s sewage treatment facility has the capacity to handle the 600 home Skaha Hills development and more.
“When the treatment facility was expanded, it was expanded knowing about the PIB’s proposed development and that expansion was designed to accommodate 25 years of growth,” said Moroziuk.
“That being said, if you give a certain amount of treatment capacity to the PIB, you don’t have that to give to someone else.”
Coun. Wes Hopkin spoke strongly in favour of the deal, calling it an investment in the city’s sanitary sewer system.
“I think it is important for us to make clear that our contribution essentially does get covered through the servicing agreement and the fees that we get,” said Hopkin.
“It is an investment we pay into this utility and the alternative is what, exactly, that the Penticton Indian Band builds their own treatment plant?”
Hopkin said the concept of neighbouring municipalities each building facilities was ridiculous.
“I think this is a great example of neighbouring communities in this valley working together to use a public service … as opposed to each individual community having their own treatment plant, which is an incredible waste of money, and probably not good for the environment either,” said Hopkin.