Door-knockers successful in bid to upgrade Saltair sewers

Director Mel Dorey praises new approach in gathering community support

Mel Dorey

Mel Dorey

Saltair residents have approved a $4.5-million upgrade to their water system, and area director Mel Dorey credits a community-driven petition process for the support.

The Cowichan Valley Regional District used a petition process to solicit community feedback on the upgrades, meaning 50 per cent of Saltair property owners — representing 50 per cent of the area’s land value — had to support the plan when volunteer canvassers came knocking on their doors.

And that means they had to sell a tax increase — of about $358/year per tax parcel for 15 years — to more than 400 Saltair property owners.

Dorey said 22 volunteers canvassed their neighbours in the span of a month, sometimes going back to a home up to six times before securing a yes-or-no decision. There were also three public meetings held to discuss the upgrades and explain the petition process.

“This was a great experience for the canvassers,” Dorey said. “They got to know the neighbourhood. They talked about everything.

“They had a real positive experience and for me … this is one of the most exciting and positive experiences I’ve had.”

The upgrades will replace old pipes, correct pressures and eliminate dead-ends in the system by looping the lines for about one-third of the 60-year-old system.

According to CVRD documents, design work can start as early as this summer, with construction work starting in early 2013.