It’s been a long haul but the Meadow Park subdivision sewer story seems to be coming to an end.
North Cowichan council voted Nov. 6 at a special council meeting to approve a sewer extension for that limited area.
This extension will be 100 per cent paid for and constructed by Ken and Kim Langkammer, owners of one of the properties in the area.
"It will solve septic issues for at least two failing systems, as well as provide other property owners in that subdivision with the opportunity to connect to the municipal sanitary service in future," said North Cowichan’s newsletter, Council Matters.
Mayor Jon Lefebure expanded on that brief note.
"The Langkammers are going to install it and pay for it and we’re going to put them into the south end sewer system. They were looking to solve some sewer problems of their own and there are two other properties that Island Health had determined were failing systems.
"We can allow the extension of sewer beyond our south end sewer area if it’s for health reasons. So our staff determined there was a real positive health benefit to extending the sewer the way the Langkammers wanted. And they get some subdivision potential out of it so they have a way of paying for it," the mayor explained.
"Council agreed this was a good idea so they voted to see it go ahead," he said.
An attempt to get a community improvement area set up to see the residents of the area pay for connection to sewer was contentious and finally the whole idea was withdrawn earlier this year and the problem of failing septic systems tossed back to Island Health for a possible solution.
When one didn’t emerge, the Langkammers came back again with their first proposal.
Kim Langkammer said she was thrilled with last week’s approval.
"We are now going to do that work ourselves. We wanted to do that at the very beginning but the municipality wanted us to try for community improvement and all that. And finally we jumped through all the hoops and they passed it on Nov. 6," she said.
"It’s very exciting after all we’ve been through. It’s been a nightmare. We have been called developers. We do have two lots to subdivide off of our property but everybody made it this big, big to-do. Now, we’re going to put it up and anybody who would like to hook on can and anybody who does not want to doesn’t have to. It is wonderful. We are thrilled. It’s over. We’re so sick and tired of sewer," she said.
Strong opposition to the Langkammers’ plans has caused difficulties, she said.
"There are the people who don’t want it and they have been fighting tooth and nail. We didn’t want to cause any havoc to anyone. Some of the older people in the neighbourhood were told by the ‘no’ people that it would cost them next to nothing to fix
their septic fields. So they were thinking, ‘If it does go, we’ll just put a couple of thousand dollars into it and fix it.’ Well, it’s not that easy. But there’s nothing we could do about that so we just had to ride the rails.
"It was a terrible situation we were in. We were harassed, police were involved and the whole bit. Now, we’re thrilled that we’re not forcing anyone. That was our whole deal to begin with. We’ve been fighting this for almost nine years. Now it’s in our court to get it started," she said.
They are hoping to begin construction in the next couple of months.
"It depends on how fast we can get people to dig," she said. "We just want it done and over with so we can get on with our lives."
"We had to do a lot of dancing but North Cowichan backed us because they are in a bit of a predicament too because they’ve got some failed systems up here."
Nobody else wanted the expense of hooking the area up to municipal sewer, including Island Health, Kim said.
"We sat here for eight years with a pumping tank. We pump every two months at a cost of $900. And this was never to happen. There was a problem with the municipality allowing us to build because they said sewer was coming up. So we said, ‘perfect!’ But then it didn’t happen," she said.
The latest end to the Meadow Park saga should not cause anyone pain, she said.
"We own the line for 15 years. Anybody who wants to hook on will have to pay their share to us so that eventually we could get some money back but we’re willing to put the money out. It’s a hell of a chunk to do. We haven’t got a firm figure yet but it’s going to be up in the $180,000 range.
"They should be happy because if they don’t want to hook on they don’t have to," Langkammer said.