Council Monday approved hikes in sewer and rates. Black Press Files

Council Monday approved hikes in sewer and rates. Black Press Files

Saanich ratifies hikes in water and sewer rates

Council Monday ratified hikes in water and sewage rates, while borrowing money for various infrastructure projects.

Sewer rates are set to rise 10.7 per cent cent. If council confirms this rate following budget discussions next year, average homeowners will pay $497 for sewer in 2018, an increase largely linked to the current implementation of the regional wastewater treatment plan currently underway.

Saanich residents have been bracing themselves for increases of this sort for some time, following last year’s approval of the$765 million wastewater treatment plant at McLoughlin Point, whose construction is now underway across parts of the region, including Saanich.

When completed, the $765-million federal, provincial and CRD-funded sewage treatment plant will provide seven municipalities in Greater Victoria with the region’s first tertiary wastewater treatment system.

Saanich home residents also face a two-per cent hike in water rates, with the average cost per household going from $451 to$459.

The changes will be effective Jan. 1, 2018, but Saanich residents could see changes in their bills.

Council also approved three borrowing bylaws. The first authorizes Saanich to borrow up to $2 million towards transporation infrastructure improvements. The second authorizes Saanich to borrow up to $1.5 million towards storm drainage system improvements. The third authorizes Saanich to borrow up to $1.3 million for parks infrastructure improvements.

But these figures do not represent the actual amount of funds flowing towards Saanich. The first bylaw sees Saanich borrow $600,000, the second, $150,000, and the third, $950,000.

Valla Tinney, Saanich’s director of finance, said the gap between the higher amount and the lower amount reflect the timing of the work.

“Projects that have been completed to date total the lesser amount, so we need to borrow that amount to fund it for the 2017 year,” she said.

Saanich will then borrow the difference between the higher and lower amounts in 2018, she said.