As part of budget deliberations, city council has decided to defer creating a new sani-dump to 2027 and to continue looking for other funding opportunities in the interim.
The city has been researching if and where it should relocate a sani-dump since the previous city-owned dump at the Castlegar Visitor Centre was closed in order to make way for a new Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Centre building.
In October 2022 council asked staff to look into the feasibility of putting an RV sani-dump near the Doukhobor Discovery Centre on Heritage Way.
Staff presented council with that report during the annual budget process.
Construction of the project is estimated to be $440,000. That includes two dump stations with pay mechanisms, non-potable water wash down facilities and potable fill water. It also includes the cost of signage, lighting and a security camera.
Council was presented with several funding scenarios based on a projection of a 30-year life span and a future asset replacement cost of about $1 million which would be incorporated into the city’s asset management plan.
Annual operating costs were estimated to be $13,000, subject to inflation.
The funding scenarios looked at using user fees, taxation or a combination of both to pay for the project. Construction costs would be paid for through reserves initially, but would need to be replaced through taxation or user fees based on the preferred scenario.
Scenario 1: Complete funding through user fees for the initial investment, future replacement and operating costs would mean the user fee would need to be between $14 – 28, depending on how quickly council decided that reserves should be paid back.
Scenario 2: Funding the initial investment through reserves, but recouped through taxation, with operating costs covered by user fees would need a tax increase of 0.17 – 0.5 per cent (depending on reserve payback schedule) and users fees set between $8-11.
Scenario 3: Covering annual operating costs through user fees but everything else through taxation would mean a tax increase of 0.34 – 0.67 per cent (depending on reserve payback schedule) and user fees of $4 – 5.
Scenario 4: If all expenses are paid through taxation with no user fees the take hike would be 0.48 – 0.81 percent.
Council did not have an appetite to add new taxation to pay for a sani-dump in a year where the taxation rate was already going to have to go up more than usual due to inflation. They also saw the high user fee required for the scenario calling for only user-fee funding as cost-prohibitive for those users when the other local option only costs $7.
“Looking at the budget numbers … to think we are going to tax people for this … in a year when we are talking potentially higher numbers,” said Councillor Cherryl MacLeod. “I’m sorry, but that is not high on my list of priorities.”
Councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstibitoff was not in favour of spending tax dollars on the project at all, preferring to let the local business that is already offering the service continue to do so.
While in favour of the project in principal, Councillor Darcy Bell said he would rather defer it for now and look for grants or other opportunities to fund it.
Council has since approved the draft budget with a 6.65 per cent tax rate increase and held a public open house. Adoption of the final budget is scheduled in the coming weeks.