On the November 27th agenda was a Sewer Serviceability report for 2119 Charters Road, a 1.75 (give or take) parcel of land. In summary, the owner has paid for 60 sewer connection and paid over $400,000 to the District in fees, and has not had anything delivered. Files keep on getting lost. The owner, Mr. Les Monnington is feeling stonewalled. And as if in keeping with chaos wrapped around this particular file, the mics were not turned on about six times during this particular item, so some information is simply not on the record.
The land at 2119 Charters is owned by Mr. Les Monnington. In the Public Input section of the meeting, where the public is afforded two minutes to speak to any item on the agenda, Monnington unleashed his frustration with the District. Staff can’t find any of the past records he said, so Monnington on three occasions provided staff with the appropriate documentation. For a fourth time (this time), Monnington presented Council with that documentation, directly. These documents will be added to the December 11 meeting where this particular item will be ultimately discussed again.
According to Mr. Monnington, his land is zoned for high density. He paid for 60 sewer connections, costing him $93,000. That was more than others are paying he said, but he was told that the added costs charged to him were because his connections would be drained by gravity.
He went on to say that number of commitments never happened. His property was also rezoned, and he didn’t ask for that. Monnington later noted the land is now zoned high density, for over 200 houses. So the 65 sewer connections won’t accommodate this number of units.
“You haven’t kept your bargain in any way shape or form,” he said to Council, noting that none of the sewers he paid for have been built.
Staff said that gravity fed is simply not an option at that location. Any sewer connection from that location will have to be pressure pumped, and to do that, a lift station will need to be built. Staff also added that there was no short or medium term plan to build a road there, but that’s not to say it will never be built.
Pearson said he had talked personally to Monnington on several occasions in the past. Pearson noted that Monnington bought into the service believing he was getting hooked up. Monnington believes he is entitled to hook-up, as he has paid for the sewer connections.
“He’s done his part,” said Pearson during the discussion of the item, saying it’s now up to the District to give him something to hook up into.
“This has dragged on long enough,” said Pearson. Monnington wants an answer. No answer is worse than a bad answer, or a good answer. Les wants an answer.
Monnington addressed Council once again, saying that he feels like he’s being stonewalled. Monnington had asked the CAO and the Director of Development Services to bring the matter before Council in October 2016. It wasn’t until Monnington directly approached Council a year later himself that it was finally discussed by Council at an in-camera meeting on June 19, 2017.
With building frustration, Monnington said he’s paid more than $400,000 to District and has nothing to show for it: there’s not one sewer connection, not a road, nothing. This is not good governance, he said.
Parkinson asked about the referendum on an alternative connecting road. Parkinson noted the referendum failed, the District returned the money, and that should have closed the matter. We can’t even put a sidewalk in downtown, she noted, let alone build an alternative road.
Berger added that at one point after the referendum a new road was planned, just not the one from the referendum (that came with money attached). This road was always on the books. Berger asked to see this item on the next council agenda, on December 11. Berger also asked for a letter to the assessment authority saying Monnington currently does not have sewer on his property.
Reay asked for a timeline to be assembled in the documentation going before Council at the December 11 meeting.
Then, the stark dire financial situation was stated to Council. The CAO noted that the cost to the District “for rectifying the situation” will be “substantial.” The concern for this unknown but substantial amount was reiterated by the Director of Financial and Corporate Services, who stated there was no point in bringing a budget forward (budget discussions are set to begin on December 4) with such large items, like this one, outstanding.
Mics were not turned on and various seemingly important things were said.
“There is no oversight on any of this stuff,” said Monnington in closing.
The CAO said she would make this item and the related information a priority for the December 11 Regular meeting. A motion passed to discuss this further on December 11.
Regular Council Meeting Details:
Present: Councillor Kevin Pearson was acting mayor; Councillors Brenda Parkinson, Bev Berger, Ebony Logins, and Kerrie Reay.
Absent: Sooke Mayor Maja Tait, Councillor Rick Kasper.
Other items from this meeting:
- Staff comment suggests massive sewer costs to be born by the District
- Sooke Fire Department welcomes two new career fire fighters
- Sooke resident calls for action on Sooke River Road parking
- Sooke bears new designation: The Smoked Salmon Capital of Canada
- Housing challenges for Sooke construction workers now; affordability committee can happen in Feb or March 2018