CAMPBELL RIVER, B.C. – The Supreme Court of B.C. has found that water bylaws in the Strathcona Regional District and the City of Campbell River are reasonable.
This is according to a release from the Strathcona Regional District (SRD).
A northern Area D resident brought forward a case to the Supreme Court, challenging the legality of one bylaw from the City of Campbell River and two others from the SRD. The bylaws set the rates and fees for water supply and usage.
The SRD purchases water in bulk from the city to provide a supply in Area D, with the purchase costs being passed down to the users in the end.
Honourable Madam Justice Young handed down a judgement on March 14th, stating that the bylaws are reasonable.
She found that the City of Campbell River is also authorized to enact bylaws to set fees for bulk water being sold outside of city limits, as well as to charge fees that reflect the cost of delivering water to residents outside of the city boundaries.
Madam Justice Young also found that the fees Campbell River charges is linked to the cost of delivering water, and that the city is not obligated to subsidize the SRD’s water supply.
The Court has since dismissed the case.
The SRD release added that all parties were ordered to pay for their own legal costs. The SRD’s legal costs will be paid through the Area D water service, as is legislatively required.
“We are relieved to finally have closure on this so that we can move forward with investigating ways to provide a sustainable service to Area D residents,” wrote SRD board chair Michele Babchuk in the release.
Babchuk added that plans for sustainable service may likely include infrastructure renewal, asset management and water conservation measures.
“This will help us address any physical deficiencies in the system as well as mitigate rising costs in the future,” she added.
“Wherever possible, the SRD will continue its successful track record of sourcing grant funding to assist with capital costs and providing services that meet the needs and expectations of the community.”
Mayor Andy Adams said in a release from Campbell River that the city’s water bylaw was approved by council members.
“The city recognizes the Strathcona Regional District as a valued government partner, and with this court case resolved, we commit to moving forward to work together on other areas of mutual interest.”