The District of Sicamous is proceeding with a municipal boundary expansion study that will look at expanding the district along the west side of the Sicamous channel to include Mara Hills, formerly Hyde Mountain. (Google Earth map image)

The District of Sicamous is proceeding with a municipal boundary expansion study that will look at expanding the district along the west side of the Sicamous channel to include Mara Hills, formerly Hyde Mountain. (Google Earth map image)

Swansea Point removed from Sicamous municipal boundary expansion study

District study to look at boundary expansion to include Mara Hills

Though it was a consideration, Swansea Point will not be included in a municipal boundary expansion study being done for the District of Sicamous.

At its May 25 meeting, district council awarded a contract for the study to Lawson Engineering, subject to funding of a cost-sharing agreement with the province and a financial plan amendment.

The cost quoted by Lawson was $54,510 plus GST. However, Lawson’s bid was based on the study including the expansion of the municipal boundary on the west side of the Sicamous Channel to Mara Hills (formerly Hyde Mountain), as well as south of Sicamous to Swansea Point.

Council voted to remove the latter from the contract (assuming it would reduce its cost), after sharing concerns about expensive work that would be needed and a lack of interest among Swansea Point residents.

In a report to council, corporate officer Jennifer Bruns explained council received a petition in February 2021 signed by 68 people (from 39 households), asking that the district explore a boundary expansion on the west side of the channel. Public input was sought regarding a potential boundary expansion that would also include the east side of Mara Lake up to Swansea Point.

In September 2021, council directed staff to issue a request for proposals (RFP) to do the study, but the district received no replies. The RFP was issued again in 2022.

Commenting on the study’s inclusion of Swansea Point, Coun. Jeff Mallmes noted the related extension of sewer and water alone would make it cost prohibitive.

A written report from staff details operational considerations for the boundary extension to Mara Hills and Swansea Point.

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Among considerations noted by the district’s operations manager for the boundary expansion on the west side of the channel, it is assumed existing infrastructure along Old Spallumcheen Road is not up to the current municipal standard, and water and sewer would need to be extended from where it currently ends along the road to Mara Hills. For the boundary extension to Swansea Point, locations for utilities would need to be secured (possibly involving land acquisitions or statutory right of way agreements), approximately four kilometres of road are not up to municipal standard, a sanitary lift station will be required, and an existing lift station would require expansion. It was also noted the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure typically doesn’t allow utilities to run within a highway corridor.

In addition to the cost factor, Coun. Gord Bushell said he’d heard Swansea residents are not interested.

However, town manager Evan Parliament said the new owners of Mara Hills are.

“They’ve got huge plans for Mara Hills,” said Parliament. “Ideally, they’d love to hook up to municipal water and sewer. They don’t want septic, they don’t want to do well water…”

Parliament said Mara Hills’ main question is taxation and the study would address this.

“I’m looking at the fact that we have 68 individuals in 39 households that are asking us to do this study and I think we need to do it…,” said Mayor Terry Rysz.


lachlan@saobserver.net
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