The matter of a sewer connection at 6519 Throup Rd. continues to plunge Council into what may become a stinky big mess.
At the November 27 regular Council meeting, a Staff comment suggested massive sewer costs will be born by the District, on a matter concerning 1.75 acre parcel of land at 2119 Charters Road, now identified as 6519 Throup Rd. The landowner paid for 60 sewer connections, costing him $93,000, and over the years he has paid over $400,000 in fees. At the time, staff warned Council that the cost to rectify the situation would be “substantial.”
According to a December 11 staff report, “Further research has been undertaken by staff and subsequent information has come to light. Given the content of this subsequent information, staff has asked legal council for advice on how best to proceed.” The CAO said they would need to go in-camera in order to review the legal matters.
“The issue is larger than what Council thinks right now,” the CAO said adding that she was bound by the Community Charter not to share legal opinions in a public forum. (Click here for a list of items that “may or must not” be discussed in public)
Councillor Rick Kasper wanted the conversation here and now, noting that the deals were discussed publicly, at public meetings. He said there were contracts made and cheques chased, and all of the rate-payers benefited from this. He added that the District took this landowner’s money with the intent of connecting the sewer; yet, a sewer was never connected. Everyone else who paid into the system got a pipeline run in front of their homes. Kasper said he was going to bat for the property owner.
Councillor Kevin Pearson shared Kasper’s desire for a resolution, and wanted this item expedited.
Mayor Maja Tait noted that this single item has pushed their budget timelines completely out of target. (At the 2017 budget discussions, Council hoped to complete budget discussions for 2018 by December. That will not happen now.)
Again, the CAO repeated her earlier message. There are a few things that went sideways with this deal, she said. There are other letters of credit that were cashed with no service provided. The information that went sideways, she said, needed to be revealed in camera. If Council, in the interest of transparency, wanted to do a rise-and-report right after the in-camera meeting, there would be nothing stopping them from doing so.
The landowner, Mr. Monnington, addressed Council and indicated that the last Council meeting had left him hopeful. On hearing talk of lawyers and legal opinions, he initially thought the District was going to litigate. Staff assured him that it was a matter of protocol.
The landowner said he has been trying for six months to get this in front of Council.
“What do you people intend on doing?”
Monnington said he’s probably in a position to sue, but he doesn’t want his friends and neighbours (the taxpayers) to pay.
Ultimately, the staff report was received by Council, and Council said they would work towards a solution in January 2018.
The legal opinion, at the time of the discussion, had not yet been received at the District. The matter goes back several years, and precedes the current Council and staff.
The December 11 2017 meeting
All elected officials were present: Mayor Maja Tait, Councillors Brenda Parkinson, Berger, Ebony Logins, Kerrie Reay (left early due to illness), Rick Kasper, Kevin Pearson
December 11, 2017 Full Agenda
- Council to consider bylaw amendment in January, allowing mobile homes on residential lots
- Condos coming to Maple Avenue South
- Sewer continues to plague Sooke Council
- Public Hearing: Sooke narrowly approves another higher density rezoning application
- The notion of a perpetual business licence nixed for Sooke
- Want to do business with the District? Then a business licence from the District will be required
- Proposed Murray Rd staircase to Boardwalk replacement may cost taxpayers $75,000
- Sooke Council will issue apology letters, revisit Memorial Dedication policy early in 2018