Organizers of a petition aimed at putting the east side water and waste water project on hold or even stopping it altogether say the project cost to commercial and industrial properties is simply unaffordable for many owners.
“We need to get a better price,” said co-organizer Allan Dougan. “I'm not opposed to the water and sewer but the cost just doesn't work for me. It's too expensive for us.”
The petition is aimed specifically at the town's borrowing bylaw for the project, Bylaw 04-11, which has already received first reading. If it passes third reading the bylaw would allow the town to incur in by the issuance of debenture in the amount of $4.5 million for the project.
The project calls for the provincial of water, waste water, stormwater, fire hydrants, paving, curb and butter to property on the east side of the Red Deer River in the town of Sundre.
Owners of property on the east side of the river, prior to the 2010 annexations, are liable to pay the local improvement.
Under the bylaw, the total levy per front metre for commercial and industrial owners would be $1,329 plus interest, or $66.49 plus interest per year for 20 years. A total of 55 parcels fall under the commercial and industrial category.
The total residential levy will be $24,000 plus interest over 20 years.
Allan Dougan said his company, Dougan's Service, on Main Avenue, would be on the hook for more than $400,000 over 20 years under the current payment plan.
A public open house hosted by petition organizers was scheduled for Feb. 28 (after press time) at the Legion Hall.
In a letter announcing the open house, organizers cited a number of concerns with the project, including the following (quoted from letter):
• The outrageous cost of the water and sewer;
• The caveats to be placed on our properties to cover the cost of construction;
• The actual cost to put these services in to connect the homes and businesses from the road are at the owners' expense;
• The costs that we have presently been quoted are based on engineered services, not contracted bid costs;
• We feel that this project should be tendered on a hard bid basis to determine the major costs of the project are firm;
• There should be a committee formed to ensure costs are controlled and residents' concerns are dealt with, by the contractor and town, before, during and after construction;
• A better rate is negotiated for all property owners;
• Disclosure of why the estimated costs have doubled in the last few months and the river crossing has doubled or more than quoted by the town at prior meetings.
Town officials held private meetings with several east side property owners at the town office last week.