Negotiations continuing for Emerald sewer right of way 

Alternate route could mean additional expense for some owners

Work on the $8 million Emerald Estates sewer collection project will start within the next few weeks but the municipality still needs to secure some statutory rights-of-way over private property to ensure the most economical routing.

Should the RMOW fail to obtain all the rights-of-way required by July 1, the pipes will have to be re-routed in places. This could add to the overall cost of the project and some Emerald Estates residents may also be forced to install on-site pumping systems.

Municipal utilities manager Sean Smyth said council has authorized awarding the sewer project to Clockwork Construction Ltd., one of the locally-based Sabre group of companies. Clockwork is also handling the water system improvements to the area.

Under terms of the contract, Clockwork needs to know the final sewer routing requirements before July 1 but municipal staff hope to secure all the rights-of-way well before that date.

Approximately 85 rights-of-way are required and about 95 per cent are currently in the bag.

The RMOW’s Joe Paul said some property owners are still balking at granting statutory access for a number of reasons. Some don’t want a sewer right-of-way running through their real estate. Others are concerned about trees and vegetation and some are worried about construction activity on their land.

One of the stumbling points is access across a strip of private land that borders Emerald Park and runs along Highway 99. The narrow strip forms part of a large parcel of property that wraps around the back of Emerald Estates.

The out-of-country owner has to date refused to grant a right-of-way across his land. But Paul said negotiations are still ongoing.

Access across this land would allow gravity drainage of sewage from about a dozen Emerald Drive properties above the land.

Should the right-of way be refused, the sewer pipes would probably have to be re-routed up the road right-of-way and along the front of the properties along Emerald Drive. Those that lie below Emerald Drive would then need pumping systems to pump sewage up to road level. This could add to their bills, depending on the configuration of their properties.

The RMOW will foot the capital costs for the individual $7,700 on-site pump systems but residents will have to install, maintain and operate the equipment at their own expense.

Paul, however, noted that most of the lots in the area are long and narrow with the houses positioned close to the road. He said in some cases, the pump option could end up cheaper for some residents. Houses close to the road, for example, will only have to install a short section of pipe along with the pump system, as opposed to digging a long length of pipe to the back of their properties for the gravity drainage option. But the gravity option, said Paul, is more reliable and easier to maintain than the pump systems.

Smyth said so far construction plans are on schedule and within budget. He estimates Emerald residents will have to pay $7,078 towards the total cost of bringing the sewer up to individual property lines. But that amount will be adjusted once the project is complete based on actual costs.

Property owners will then have two years from official notification to connect themselves to the system, up from the original 180 days. That will mean installing a sewer connection line from their houses to the property line. As much of Emerald Estates is built on solid granite, that could cost between $1,500 and $6,000 per lot.

Properties will also be subject to a sewer connection fee of $250, a $3,334 works and services charge plus an annual sewer parcel tax and usage fee of $277.

Smyth said Clockwork must have the project substantially completed by Sept. 30, 2002. "We are asking them for a detailed construction schedule."

He added Kim Creed has been named as a municipal point person to deal with any concerns or questions from Emerald residents. He said the municipality will also be posting monthly project updates on the RMOW Web site.

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