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South Sewer Project Quick Facts

This page was last reviewed on April 10, 2018.

In 2015, Council determined that Cumberland will not participate in the South Sewer Project.

Print the Quick Facts.

Why do we need the South Sewer Project?

Cumberland’s current sewage treatment system has issues in relation to elevated levels of phosphorous and excessive wet weather flows, and is out of compliance with regulatory standards.

The BC Environmental Management Act allows municipalities to develop a Liquid Waste Management Plan (LWMP) to ensure the management, resource recovery and disposal of treated waste is sufficiently protective of public health and the environment. Liquid waste management plans allow municipalities to develop community-specific solutions for wastewater management that meet or exceed existing regulations.

In 2011, Cumberland identified participating in the South Sewer Project (partners include Cumberland, Royston, Union Bay, and the K’ómoks First Nation) as the preferred solution for liquid waste management. This participation is subject to financing and governance issues.

What does the South Sewer Project entail?

As currently proposed the South Sewer Project has the following attributes:

  • Advanced secondary treatment at a facility in the south region
  • Connection to an outfall at Comox Valley Water Pollution Control Centre (CVWPCC) with discharge into the Strait of Georgia off Cape Lazo
  • Kinetic energy recovery from wastewater flows, heat recovery and reuse, reuse of reclaimed water and beneficial use of biosolids through the SkyRocket facility

How much is this project going to cost?

This project is currently proposed to be a Public Private Partnership (PPP) project, with an estimated cost of $65.8 million. With PPP Canada funding Cumberland’s share would be approximately $10.2 million.

What funding sources do we currently have for this project?

Besides the costs that will be incurred by Cumberland taxpayers, there are currently two other funding sources that have been identified for this project; one confirmed and one in the application stage.

The project has $15 million of confirmed funding from the UBCM Strategic Priorities Fund, and the project partners have applied for 25% project funding from PPP Canada, which would translate into a $16.5 million grant based on current cost estimates.

Why is Cumberland Council considering it as a PPP Project?

Under the proposed public-private partnership model, ownership of the asset would remain with the public sector, while responsibility for the design, build, finance, operations and maintenance components would be transferred to the private sector. PPP Canada is a federal Crown corporation that encourages P3s as a way of delivering public infrastructure.

PPP Canada can leverage 25% in grant funding towards capital costs, which could equal $16.5 million towards the South Sewer Project if approved.

As a P3 project the possibility of back-ending the costs to account for future development can be considered, and under the P3 model debt repayment would not begin until the project has reached substantial completion, allowing the Village the opportunity to reserve funds to help pay for the project.

What would the cost be for a residential unit for the South Sewer Project?

As a PPP Canada project, the total sewer utility fee is estimated to be $993 per year for a residential unit. This amount includes fees for current Village sewer infrastructure – along with the additional costs associated with the South Sewer Project.

A residential unit includes a single family dwelling, a duplex unit, a townhouse unit, an apartment unit, a secondary suite, and a coach house.

Looking for costs for different uses? See the October 7, 2015 staff report: Pages 5 & 6, tables on “Gas Tax and PPP Grant”.

Cost Type Amount Per Year Details
Existing Cumberland lagoon sewer system – capital/operating/maintenance $355 The 2015 annual sewer utility fee is $290, plus an annual sewage frontage tax.
South Sewer Project capital debt repayment for construction of treatment plant and disposal system $365 · Accuracy of ± 30% for most capital components· Debt over a 30 year borrowing term assuming a 4.51% interest rate
South Sewer Project operating and maintenance $273
Total Estimated Residential Unit Cost Per Year $993

What is the estimated cost breakdown of the total project?

As a PPP Canada project, the total estimated cost of the project is $65.8 million.

Allocation Breakdown: Cost
Cumberland: $10.2 million
CVRD: $16.7 million
K’ómoks First Nation $7.4 million
UBCM Gas Tax grant $15 million
Possible PPP Canada grant $16.5 million
Total Project Cost $65.8 million

When will a decision be made on Cumberland participation in the South Sewer Project?

In order to meet the deadlines necessary for the PPP Canada grant, the Village of Cumberland needs to confirm the South Sewer Project as the preferred option for our LWMP planning process by November 13, 2015.

In order to meet this deadline Council will be discussing project participation at a Village Hall meeting on November 2, 2015. This meeting follows a similar public meeting that was held in May 2015.

Online survey results from (deadline is October 28, 2015) will be summarized and presented to Council at the November 2, 2015 Village Hall meeting. Council will also receive further public input at that meeting.

At the November 2, 2015 meeting Council is expected to make a recommendation on whether or not to participate in the South Sewer Project as a PPP Canada project. Any recommendation is expected to be ratified at the November 9, 2015 Regular Council meeting.

What happens if Council decides not to participate in the South Sewer Project?

If Council chooses not to participate in the South Sewer project the Village will restart the LWMP process, including a thorough examination of community-specific solutions for wastewater management that meet or exceed existing regulations.

Where can I find more information on the South Sewer Project?

Give Cumberland Council your feedback and complete the South Sewer Survey online or at the Village office by October 28, 2015.

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