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Developers asked to pay for RMOW sewer upgrades

Rainbow employee housing bylaws unfinished as negotiations continue

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Developers of the Rainbow property and the municipality are at odds over how much money they should be paying for upgrades to the sewer system.

Municipal staff has asked developers to pay close to three times what they say their sewer upgrade costs should be to connect to the RMOW system.

"It’s our strong desire that Rainbow, which is really on the verge of success, not be derailed at this point," said Tom Rafael, one of the partners in the Rainbow development.

The latest snag in negotiations is based around a report, recently produced by Dayton & Knight Consulting Engineers, which highlights the work that needs to be done to the municipal sewer system. That work totals approximately $1.6 million and includes upgrades to the Nicklaus North Pump Station.

The report specifically highlights that just $250,000 is directly attributable to the Rainbow development, which is slated to go on 45 acres of private land in between Alpine Meadows and Emerald Estates.

The rest of the work is based on build out as defined in the Official Community Plan.

The municipal engineering department has suggested to the Rainbow developers that they pay for half of the overall work, roughly $800,000. That request has the Rainbow developers on guard as they work on the details of building this new neighbourhood, 85 per cent of which will be resident housing.

"The first item is sewer and we run into this tangle," said Rafael. "What on earth is going to happen in potable water or… building reservoirs or all the other steps in the process? That first disappointment has put us on guard."

The municipality’s general manager of planning and development said this week he has not taken a position on the matter, though he recognizes the engineering department has taken a different stand.

"I haven’t taken a position," Bob MacPherson said Wednesday. "There’s a letter from the engineering department that suggests it ought to be more than that (the $250,000). From my perspective, I have an open mind on this thing."

He said spending in excess of $1 million on sewer upgrades is not something that the RMOW wants to leap into without a full analysis.

"I think there’s more internal discussion (needed) and there may be some external expertise that we need to bring in as well," he said.

The decision ultimately rests with council.

MacPherson, however, is confident the two sides will be able to reach an agreement.

"I’ve heard a fair bit of alarm in the last 24 hours on this which has surprised me," he said. "Nothing that I’m seeing here is out of the ordinary.

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