Strata says Anmore’s update on septic issue doesn’t paint complete picture

The village of Anmore will be holding a public information session next Thursday to update residents on efforts to resolve the failing septic field at Anmore Green Estates (AGE) that has been leaking water contaminated with E. coli and fecal coliform onto the grounds of neighbouring Eagle Mountain middle school since fall 2017.

But a representative of the 51-unit strata complex says a resolution is still a long way off.

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Brandie Roberts, the vice-president of AGE’s strata, said, “Based on actions taken to date, it’s unlikely this will be fixed this year. And as for next year, we’re at a loss of what else to do to get us connected,”

Roberts said the strata is not being given a voice at the meeting, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Anmore elementary school. 

She said while officials from various levels of government talk about how to fix the problem — and who will pay for it — AGE residents have yet to be offered a place at the table.

“We truly do not understand how or why our community is continually restricted,” Roberts told The Tri-City News.

A four-page document published on Anmore’s website and distributed to residents of AGE last week concedes resolution of the sewage issues is a “complex, and time-consuming process.”

Anmore’s chief administrative officer, Juli Halliwell, said the fact sheet provides a capsule of the myriad negotiations required to connect the housing complex to the Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Discharge District (GVS&DD) through a hook-up in neighbouring Port Moody. A condensed version of the information is also being sent to every Anmore residence with their hydro bills.

Haliwell said AGE’s residents are welcome to attend the June 20 meeting to listen to presentations by village staff and representatives from Metro Vancouver as well as to ask questions and provide comment.

"The village remains committed to working collaboratively with all jurisdictions involved to get this issue resolved as soon as possible,” she said, noting Anmore continues to have an “open dialogue” with AGE “to determine what their specific issues are and how they may be addressed, while ensuring fairness to all Anmore residents.”

But Roberts said there’s still much AGE and Anmore residents don’t know, such as the scope and cost for a “capacity study” required by the city of Port Moody to determine whether its sewers can handle the additional discharge from the strata complex. They also don’t know the status of discussions between the village and School District 43 about a local area service bylaw that ensures the cost for the sewer connection is fully covered by those who will benefit from it.

The village has recommended AGE connect to a sewer pipe on the school district’s property that already services Eagle Mountain middle through a special agreement reached when it was built. It also used water meter readings from the past three years to determine the school district would be responsible for 9% of annual Metro Vancouver levies while the strata would cover the remaining 91%. Those levies are estimated to be $59,479 this year, rising to $145,339 by 2023.

While Anmore Green has agreed to pay for the costs of the sewer connection — estimated to be around $250,000 — Roberts said the strata’s burden for the levies “is not reasonable and equitable.”

She added: “We cannot voluntarily commit to more than doubling AGE’s annual taxes just so no other resident of Anmore is affected by the village taking this path of GVS&DD membership.”

Haliwell said the village remains steadfast in its commitment to protect its residents, who are all on private septic systems, from being financially affected by AGE’s sewage problems.

In its update document, the village said it has already saved the strata $275,000 by confirming with Metro Vancouver that development cost charges will not be assessed to the strata, and it’s prepared to make a joint submission — along with AGE — to the regional body for lower levies.

Roberts confirmed a meeting was held with Anmore’s mayor and staff last Monday to discuss such a delegation to the next session of the GVS&DD but, she said, it didn’t go far enough to address other outstanding issues.

“We were informed at that meeting that our other concerns would not be discussed, or would only be discussed at the June 20th open house,” Roberts said, adding it was the first time representatives from AGE and the village had met since last fall’s civic elections.

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