At least one Meadow Park area resident is investigating the possibility of a class action suit against the Municipality of North Cowichan following the announcement of the most recent solution to a contentious sewer issue in the subdivision. David Kirkness, who has lived in the area since 1967, said that he’s very concerned that North Cowichan is acting in a way that seems contrary to the Official Community Plan.
That document states: "the municipality will extend municipal services to rural areas only under exceptional circumstances." Further on it says, "any new sewer extensions will not be used as a basis to facilitate or support additional density." Those two comments are a big part of why Kirkness is unhappy with a council decision Nov. 6 to approve a sewer extension for a limited area that would allow property owners Ken and Kim Langkammer to build their own extension to service property they own and hope to develop.
The extension will be 100 per cent paid for and constructed by the Langkammers but there is also a possibility for other property owners in the area to hook up to it if they wish, and at their own expense.
The possible expense involved is another reason Kirkness is unhappy with the municipality and wants to look into a class action suit. "I want to protect the residents from being overcharged," he said. "We need more transparency about the figures. They keep using estimated costs."
A long and tangled argument has entailed over several years as the municipality, the Langkammers and the other property owners in Meadow Park have tried to find a way to combine the Langkammers’ proposal to develop their land with the problem of failing septic systems in that area.
But Kirkness said that the issue has been clouded by some of those concerns. "It’s all about development, not health," he said. "If they put a shovel in the ground, it means things change. The sewer should not be extended into rural areas to increase density."
Other areas where residential development has encroached onto rural land may also eventually form part of a class action suit, he said, adding, "I’ve given these guys more than enough chances to make it right."