Peninsula to shed water debt in 2014

Water and wastewater infrastructure debt to be paid off

Debt incurred more than 15 years ago is about to expire and with that, municipalities on the Saanich Peninsula will see significant savings.

Geoff Orr, the chair of the Saanich Peninsula Water Commission (and the wastewater commission as well) reported that in 2014, Central Saanich, North Saanich and Sidney will no longer pay debt servicing on water infrastructure capital that was purchased in the late 1990s. Orr said that work consisted of reservoir upgrades, new pipe and larger pumping stations.

This year, Orr stated the debt has been paid off. Last year’s payment was estimated at just over $28,400. In 2012, the debt payment was $236,100.

Wastewater infrastructure costs paid for at around the same period 15 years ago, are still on the books. Its debt, Orr pointed out, is only $17,290 for 2014 and will be paid off by 2015. That work was related directly to the construction of the sewage treatment plant (at the time called the Unified Treatment Plant).

Debt servicing in 2013 cost local municipalities $551,200 and in 2012 they paid more than $1.2 million.

Orr stated each municipality pays a share of the debt based on a sliding scale which considers each year’s volume of flow to the sewage treatment plant.

The estimated percentage share for 2014 is: Central Saanich 44.54%; North Saanich 16.94%; Sidney 38.52%. They pay the Capital Regional District, which oversees the operation of the plant.

Orr stated each municipality will handle the reduction in their debt payment individually.

In North Saanich’s case, Orr said the district kept the water parcel tax the same to help build up the municipality’s reserves.