With $3.8 million in federal and provincial grants on the line, it’s unclear if the Big Eddy Waterworks petition will succeed. Since the petition opened on Dec. 15, the city has received just over half of the necessary number of petitions. 33 days have passed and 17 remain. Is it tracking to fail, or is it just people leaving things to the last minute?
Big Eddy residents have until Feb. 5 to sign a petition that allows the City of Revelstoke to take over that neighbourhood’s water utility and move forward with the estimated $5.7 million infrastructure upgrade project that meets Interior Health and provincial regulations.
Revelstoke’s director of corporate administration, Dawn Levesque, said they have so far received signed petitions that make up 35 per cent of the assessed value in the Big Eddy neighbourhood (50 per cent is needed) and 27 per cent of the lots (51 per cent is needed — there are 280 lots in the Big Eddy).
The difference between assessed value and the number of lots is that the larger lots, which house some of the local businesses, are assessed at a higher value, therefore resulting in a higher assessed value and a fewer number of lots.
“A lot of the industries have come on board as they know it’s [the plan] is a good deal,” Levesque said.
If the petition is successful, the city can access a $3.8 million dollar grant through the Building Canada Fund, leaving about $1.9 million to be paid by property owners through parcel frontage tax, payable over 20 years. This would be in addition to the yearly water rates.
“I think it would be a real shame to lose out on these grants. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Big Eddy,” Levesque said.
Big Eddy Water District Board members Brian Dyck and Don Hall have previously acknowledged it would take longer to fundraise the money themselves.
“They don’t have the ability to borrow, they would have to save all the money upfront to do the mandated change,” Levesque said.
The Revelstoke Mountaineer earlier reported that the city council extended an offer to Big Eddy residents to communicate one-on-one with city staff about any concerns they have. They also mailed-out a frequently asked questions package to residents.
Levesque said that effort has paid off and they are getting a steady stream of phone calls and people coming in. She’s hoping residents won’t wait until the last minute to sign.
“Once we hit 50 per cent, we can start to move the process forward,” she said.