Incorporation: What Can a Water District Do?

The North Salt Spring Water District needs money: to raise the Duck Creek weir and for an eventual treatment plant at Maxwell Lake. Their board has recommended incorporation as the best option for raising those funds. But is it?

The Facts

  • Accessing government grants does not mean receiving Far from it:
    • applications to the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program totalled almost 7 times the available funds
    • the Gas Tax Agreement Strategic Priorities Fund has 11 separate criteria for funding; raising a weir and building a conventional water treatment plant meet few of them
  • On Salt Spring, NSSWD would compete for scarce funding with projects like road upgrades, new fire hall, town hall, sewage treatment plant upgrade, etc.
  • With incorporation all taxpayers face greater financial burdens and liabilities: road repair and maintenance, higher policing costs, many municipal expenses. Higher taxes could cancel out any benefit from possible grants.

Better Options

  • Convert NSSWD into a CRD commission.
    • Six Salt Spring water districts have converted and secured major grants.
  • Transfer NSSWD facilities to the CRD with a new NSSWD non-profit society contracted as the operator.
    • New facilities would be eligible for infrastructure grants through the CRD. NSSWD would keep its current island-based management and structure.
  • Establish an elected Local Community Commission (LCC) to coordinate regional district services including NSSWD facilities.
    • LCCs provide access to infrastructure grants.

A vote to incorporate rules out every other option. A NO vote gives us more affordable options to pursue.

Prepared by Peter Lamb and Murray Reiss

August 13, 2017 9:00 AM