Residential plan hung up on sewer lines

Sanpen Properties Inc. may have to pay for new infrastructure

A North Saanich councillor expects the property at 9395 East Saanich Rd. to be cleared of brush and debris any day now — but there there is still a major hurdle to leap before construction can begin.

Craig Mearns says the developer — Sanpen Properties Inc. — has plans to clear the land soon, making way for a proposed small lot residential area consisting of 40 single family homes.

They cannot build on that land, he said, until they solidify with the municipality their plans to pay for an extension of a required sewer line.

Those plans, says Mayor Alice Finall, is part of SanPen’s subdivision permit application process.

“We are going to have to work out the infrastructure requirements first,” she said.

Options for the developer, she said, include paying for the new infrastructure and connecting to existing District services outright, or establishing a long-term payment schedule that could include a local service area — meaning new residents would be on the hook through property taxes. Another option includes having other developers link to the new infrastructure and helping pay for the work — estimated by Mearns to be in the range of $2 million.

However, he said, there are no other developers with projects in stream — and won’t be willing to do so unless they win zoning to go ahead with there projects from the District council.

“(SanPen) said at one point that they would pay for it,” Mearns said, “but I’m not sure … it might be too expensive.”

He added there might be another option — working with the Town of Sidney to connect the new residential development up to the town’s Reay Creek pump station. Mearns admitted he doesn’t know if that’s even possible, but suggested it;s worth looking into.

Council on June 10 approved an amendment of the official community  plan (OCP) and a zoning change to allow small lot developments at a medium density.

With those in place, Finall said all that’s left are the questions over infrastructure cost and construction.

“There is still a way to go,” she said.