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October 28, 2017 5:56 am

Hart Highlands Phase 2 More Expensive

Friday, February 6, 2015 @ 4:10 AM


Hart Highlands property owners  fill  school gym to hear about  phase 2 – photo 250News

Prince George BC- Phase 2 of a sewer line installation in the Hart Highlands is estimated to cost $2.89 million dollars.  If shared by owners of 100 properties that would work out to about $29 thousand dollars each  which is about  twice the amount paid by  their neighbours who  were  in phase one.

Phase 1 was completed last fall and while originally  estimated  to cost each property owner  $24 thousand dollars,  the final  price tag ( not including  connection fees or landscape repairs) was  closer to $15 thousand dollars.

There are several reasons for the increase say City Staff,  including more curves and intersections in the Phase 2 area, longer distance to cover, challenging elevations, underground hydro and cable lines.

The matter of longer distance was pressed by one resident who indicated she  did not  believe she should have to pay  a portion of the cost  to bring that sewer line past the City owned tennis court or the SD57 owned school.

Area residents are not happy.   The area has been waiting a long time to be added to the  City sewer line,  many say  it was a promise made at the time of amalgamation, but  nearly 40 years later,  the terms have changed.   What was once promised as a City  installed  infrastructure, is now a project the  property owners  would be expected to pay for.

The City is pondering an application for a grant which could ease the cost. City staff favour applying for the Fraser River Bench remediation project saying it is shovel ready.  Staff explained  drainage has caused severe erosion and  the banks of the Fraser are sliding into the river.  It is a situation that could  pose a  risk to public safety and  if not addressed, the City could  face the wrath of  Fisheries and Oceans for  damage to the riparian habitat.   “How long have they been waiting for that project?” asked one resident.  “Since 2009” was the reply…a reply which  sent a  ripple of  laughter through the near capacity crowd. The Hart Highlands residents say they have been waiting 38 years.

Staff explained there will be a special meeting  of Council on Tuesday Feb.10 at which time Council will decide which project they will approve for the grant application. If Council chooses the Hart Highlands project there would be a formal petition delivered to residents.  The project would move forward if it was approved by 50% of the residents representing 50% of the total assessed values.  If Council  selects the  other  project,   Hart Highlands residents will be surveyed to see if they want to carry on  with proceeding to the more formal  petition.

Mayor Lyn Hall, Councillors  Garth Frizzell,  Susan Scott, Terrie McConnachie, and Jillian  Merrick  all attended the  Hart Highlands meeting last night.  Mayor Hall  says there is no doubt about it,  the  special meeting on Tuesday will see Council making an important  and  difficult decision “The decision will be whether or not  we proceed with applying for  a grant  under the  Build Canada  Fund  for  the Fraser River Bench reclamation project , or  if we take a look at the phase two Hart Highlands sewer project apply  for that, so it’s a big decision”.  There is  a hitch though,  in that  regardless of which project Council opts to  make the subject of a grant application, there is no guarantee  the  application will be  successful. “There are two things,  there is no guarantee the application we put in will be accepted,  and the other thing is there is no guarantee   on the level of funding.  We know it’s  a  third, a third, a third, the Province, feds and City, but we don’t what  that looks like as far as a dollar value.  They could say yes to a particular project , and we say it’s worth  ( for example)  a million five, , and they may come back   and say, ‘well we’re prepared to do this’ and it may be well  below the  million  five, so it  really  is a roll of the dice when  we put an application in to see how much they (senior government)   are  going to provide us.”


This is an interesting story – which streets in the Hart are included in Phase 2?

Oh, oh. “Big decision” and “Lyn Hall” in the same sentence is trouble. Wonder who will tell him what to do?

Help me here…Where and what is this ‘Fraser River Bench reclamation project’

I believe the Fraser River Bench Land is the area along the river between Cowart Rd and Malaspina.

This proposal for the residents to pay for an infrastructure that the City will reap the rewards for in the way of increased utility fees is a disgrace. Further, to expect the residents to pay anything to pave the roads that have been neglected, and should have been re-paved a decade ago, is an insult. As for the grant, good luck! I believe the Feds are done handing out money to Municipalities for their fiscal and structural mismanagement of basic services such as this, that we all have a right to. Maybe the City should consider actually using some fiscal responsibility in running the City, and even start hiring a few Managers and Directors that know what the hell they are doing.

Uh oh, pressure and Lyn Hall… look out.

Wouldn’t that be funny if for the last 40 years, thru the annual utility bill all these residences had been paying for services they have not received.

Posted on Friday, February 6, 2015 @ 8:08 AM by He spoke

Wouldn’t that be funny if for the last 40 years, thru the annual utility bill all these residences had been paying for services they have not received.


Lots of people pay for services they don’t receive. Snow removal is a prime example. It’s the price we pay for socialism.

The decision has been made as per Bill Gaal .. it will be recommended to council .. afterall the land will keep Fortwood Homes from sliding into the Fraser River .. what a joke!! Such an severe erosion problem and it has been around supposedly since 2009 – never heard about it till now.
I agree with PG101and axeman – Lyn won’t want anything to go wrong with his area – College Heights and he won’t take a stand!
And I agree with onlymyopinion.. streets need to be paved and let’s get the residents to pay for it!! It is a win win situation for the city – maybe the extra $$ will give IPG another free trip to ?? or hire another director for ???

‘Connection Fee’ means home owner cost for removal of the septic system (requirement), and connection from the house to the city sewer at the street, plus all remediation. $15,000est

So $15k+$29k= $44,000 final cost for a different type of sewer system. If 50% of the neighbors have a failing septic system or can afford the cost… then there is no way out of the $29,000 local area improvement fee and so once that is paid one might as well pay the other $15,000 for ‘connection’ associated costs. Or one could hope everyone votes no and go and buy a new 1-ton pickup.

I agree with onlymyopinion in the part how the city adds insult to injury further expecting residents to pay the repaving cost for a street that is at the point of needing repaving anyways, covered normally by general revenue.

I think the Fraser Bench project clearly should take a back seat as its a developer subsidy for developments that are not properly served by existing roads… using the Peden Hill intersection for an additional 5000 residents at a time when we should be looking at ways of removing the Peden Hill intersection altogether due to existing congestion on that part of Highway 16. It just goes to show who’s pocket city administration is in….

I also think the local area improvement projects should be funded differently, so as to not adversely impact those that can not absorb these kinds of costs and don’t require the service. If 60% approve of a project then split the cost among them for the full cost of the project, and then if down the road other homes opt to join 10-20 years down the road they would pay their 1% share, which would be distributed to paid in home owners.When costs are in the tens of thousands of dollars home owners should be protected against these kinds of arbitrary tax increases for services not required.

Okay so I am new here, but let me see if I have this straight.
The residents of Hart Highlands are being told that,
1. the cost is $29000.00, nearly double what it cost last years group
2. they will more than likely have to cover the full cost
3. that cost includes the paving of a road that is clearly long over due for being re-paved and is I believe a bus route

So the residents are paying for the installation of the infrastructure, then their taxes will go up as their property is now valued higher, oh and of course they will also pay more for city utilities, plus the cost of connecting to the service. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal for the city as so far it has not cost them a thing.

Do we really need to wonder why this community is not growing it’s population?

Oh, and thanks to CUPE for throwing their support behind these guys. Maybe next time you could help out by giving the money to those (many a union member I’m sure)who continue to be disadvantaged by poor city planning.

Some at that meeting last night were down right abusive to the staff attending. “I pay your wages, do what I tell you to do” said one man. Realize the mayor and council are the ones who make the decisions so direct your hated towards the people you voted for to make those choices for you.
The folks at that meeting that want someone else to pay for their problems that lived their for the first vote (Dale) made their choice then. All others that moved in later bought a house with a septic tank and were explained the risks by their home inspector and realtor.
This is simply a group of people whining that they should get something for free that others had to pay for. If Mayor Hall and council fold like a cheap chair and give in to this group then they should be willing to reimburse the others that voted yes and paid for the sewer upgrades for 20 years on their utility bills when they were connected. They should also install in the rest of the neighborhoods that do not have sewer so they do not have to pay and maintain their systems either.
This comes down to a small group of whiners that made a choice a long time ago to not connect because it wasn’t in their best interest at the time and now want someone else to pay for their bad choices.
Vote no and get a sand mound septic system installed. Your “saturated ground” or whatever you called it will be fixed. Vote yes and pay to connect to a sewer system and never worry again.
And no, you don’t pay for sewer on your utility bill if you do not have the service as It is not on my bill.

They had 15 million for the winter games but cant afford the cost of sewer connection that’s been waiting for 40 years. In the mean time you have been paying utility fees each year. what’s wrong with that picture?

I am a little frustrated with this topic and the grant application process. The discussions at last nights meeting did not answer some of the question one being that phase one of this project was quoted 2.4 million for the completion and it came in at 1.5 million. That was wonderful for the phase one residence. But now phase 2 is being quoted 2.9 million and we can’t count on this or getting the same discount. That is a million dollar discrepancy. People don’t expect the quote to be bang on but a million dollars is not acceptable

The second issue with this project is that there is currently grant monies available for these types of projects but the city administrators are recommending that these funds be used on the Fraser River Bench lands which they say has been a problem for 15 years and they are now in a position of being liable because the bank is sloughing into to river. There is no one that can pay for this project so it is perfect for the city to use those grant funds to pay for their mistake because they have allowed Fortwood homes to build on that land. As with the project in hart highlands the tax payers are at a point that they have to proceed because they have failing septic systems. The homeowners in this area were promised 38 years ago when they became part of the city to have city sewers installed within a short time frame. Really… At this point it is very unlikely that the grant will be issued to these people unless the city withdraws their recommendation and submits the hart Highlands project. So Mr. Smith these people are not whining they just want what they were promised 38 years ago.

Best keep you eye on the ball on this one.

Once again the City (Administration) is being less than honest when they talk about the need for spending money on the Fraser River Reclamation Project.

Lets consider some facts.

L&M Engineering made a proposal to the City on behalf on Fortwood Homes, and the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp, in 2006 for the development of the Fraser River Bench Lands Neighbourhood Plan. The Benchland property consists of 106.52 Hectares. 52.2 owned by Fortwood Homes, 50.78 owned by RCEC, and 3.62 owed by the City of PG.

This development in order to be successful needs to have some major work done on roads. Ie; Malaspina extension from the South of the project to Cowart Road on the North End.

The City plans to do the work on the North End of the Bench Lands (Varsity Creek) with the money from the Canada Works Fund, plus some $500,000.00 from surplus funds from previous budgets. This work will dovetail perfectly into the plans for the Fraser River Bench Development.

The concern about flooding, and the Federal Fisheries is just a red herring. Much the same as the concern about flooding was floated when the City wanted to build the dike on River Road.

The City Planning Department has made a decision years ago to do this work with public funds, and we now see how this will progress.

If the City wanted to use this money for the Hart Highway they could do it without any problem. Fact is they want to do the Fraser River Bench Project, so the Hart projects gets kicked to the side.

We now have a situation where the new Mayor and Council are faced with the problem of continuing to support projects put forward by vested interest groups, or to do the right thing,. How they handle this particular project will probably set the tone for the next four years.

The answer itself is quite simple. Put the sewers in the Hart. This is long overdue.

The question of whether or not they can get funding, is moot, because I doubt if they have been refused any funding for these programs in the past.

There are other funds available for grants. The Canada Works Fund is available every year, and so is the Federal Government Gas Tax Funds.

There is no panic to do the Fraser River Bench land project. Just a want by the City planners, and the vested interests.

Lets keep our eye on the new Council on this one.

The Fraser River Bench Lands Neighbourhood Plan can be accessed on the Citys website by putting L&M Engineering Fraser River Bench Lands Plan.

This is a 146 page proposal that outlines everything you need to know about this plan.

While I am not against the proposal per se, I sincerely doubt that we need to be spending public money to support it, especially when you consider the length of time the people on the Hart, and other areas of the City have been waiting for services,.

Time for a major change to how our City Engineering and Planning Departments, work. These departments have basically had a free hand for years, and are in my opinion out of control

Its these types of projects, and these types of departments that cost this City big money, and its time for the Mayor and Council to clip their wings.

Do we need an outside audit of how City Hall functions, and spends our money??? You bet we do, and we need it sooner rather than later.

Excellent comments by. City council is having a meeting on Tuesday I am just assuming that it is closed door.

“Some at that meeting last night were down right abusive to the staff attending. “I pay your wages, do what I tell you to do” said one man.”


Was the staff member displaying the usual arrogance that we see from a lot of our civil service “workers”?

If they used the money that the residence of the Hart have been paying over the 40 years that they have paid water and sewer fees should more then cover the cost of providing sewers at this time.

Palopu – Wondering if this has anything to do with what you have mentioned
Page 1
M PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA ORDER OF THE MINISTER OF FORESTS, LANDS AND NATURAL RESOURCE OPERATIONS Ministerial Order No. Under section 14 (4) (a) of the Heritage Conservation Act, I order the City of Prince George to conduct a heritage inspection of its proposed Fraser Bench Lands Outfall Remediation Project, and described as: 4km south of the Highway 97 crossing of the Fraser River Further, under section 14 (7) of the Heritage Conservation Act, as this order relates to a public work authorized to be undertaken by or under an Act, | order the City of Prince George to pay for the heritage inspection. The purpose of the heritage inspection is to identify archaeological sites protected in accordance with section 13 (2) of the Heritage Conservation Act,assess their heritage value, determine the magnitude of development related impacts and formulate archaeoiogical resource management options. The heritage inspection must be carried out in an expeditious manner by a professional archaeologist eligible to hold a heritage permit under section 14 of the Heritage Conservation Act. All work must conform to the “Application for Permit“ dated Mar 12, 2013 (Archaeology Branch file number 11200~ 30/13A0165), and attached to this order. This order expires Apr 30, 2014

So these nice folk have paid their taxes and utilities for as long as forty years and that counts for what? It seems criminal that they have to pay for the sewer to be put it and pay to hook up, only to see their taxes and utilities go up.

Do they have any legal recourse? If it was agreed upon in the original amalgamation papers that it would be covered, can they file suit against the city? The cities “Freedom of Information Officer” should be able to provide those concerned this information.

Nice windfall for the city. This will not cost them a dime and they will make money.

As to the residents being upset, I can certainly understand why they would be. They have paid their dues and by the rules and information supplied to them and yet this is the outcome. I am afraid I would be upset too, even if the price had not doubled in less than a year.

“Some at that meeting last night were down right abusive to the staff attending. “I pay your wages, do what I tell you to do” said one man.”


And in Lower College Heights there was probably some old man saying something similar, and in Westwood, Southridge, South Fort George and Blackburn as well. In fact, there was probably 30,000 people in PG thinking the exact same thing. The problem, of course, is that none of them could agree on what the staff worker should do because they all put their interests first. And such is the reason that staff take their direction from their bosses at the city (who are responsible for figuring out what gets done), instead of the general public who doesn’t understand how an employer/employee relationship works, LOL.

@ axeman

“Lots of people pay for services they don’t receive. Snow removal is a prime example. It’s the price we pay for socialism.”

The snow removal this season has been fantastic. Pretty much all frequently travelled areas cleared within 30 hours. Not to mention many residential areas within this time frame.

I think snow removal is a poor example of a service that is paid for by all but not used by all. I would argue that anyone who leaves thier home benefits from clear roads and sidewalks. Even those who remain in their homes benefit, as services which come to them are able to arrive.

guesswhat. Seems like they have already decided where the money will be spent, and the meetings etc; are just to give the general public the sense that they are being listened to.

Hopefully this Mayor and Council will prove me wrong.

Palopu, The planning department says yea or nay. They are only interested in the business end and not the regular people. This is evident. Yes they have already spent the money and I agree they will just go through the motions.

People had better wake up and start raising hell with this city. Your taxes on not just going up because of infrastructure. OOps I should rephrase that. It is not just going up for the old infrastructure. It is also going up for new infrastructure for a hell of a lot of developers in this town. Kind of like the old boys clubs?

Highway 16 west has two pieces of property that are zoned agriculture and have had commercial business on them and they are not businesses in agriculture. The Johnstone farm is a bloody mess with all the old trucks, equipment and trailers on it. This has been going on for more than 6 years.

There have been numerous complaints and city won’t do squat. The last council meeting I asked Ian Wells about it and he says they are going to step up on that piece of property. “HUH”

So if the regular taxpayer thinks they will get heard from this city – will not happen.

Just pay your taxes and shut up. We are the experts at city hall………….

If I was one of the people from the Hart neighbourhood I would be calling the city out on this one.

Looks like there may need to be another petition to stop “The Fraser River Bench Lands Neighbourhood Plan” like they did on the dyke.

I for one resent the fact my tax dollars are subsidizing developers when I can not even get water and sewer in my area since amalgamation.

The City has already spent some $91000.00 on the Fraser River Bench Remediation Project. I suspect part of this was the Heritage Inspection.

Then we have the City stating that they have $500,000.00 in cash left over from previous budgets, which would cover their portion of the project. Seems a little strange to me that they have a surplus in their budgets when we are millions of dollars behind in our infrastructure funding, and are continuously raising taxes.

What we really have here is the City holding money to accumulate enough to cover their portion of the costs for the project, because if they were to borrow the money, they would have to either have a referendum, or an alternate approval process.

After the River Road Dike petition which basically stopped them from borrowing any money they are a little leery of going to an AAP. so instead they accumulate the money, and basically sidestep the process that is in place to ensure that taxpayers have a say on how their money is spent,.

On the surface this seems innocent enough, however in actual fact it is an obvious attempt to get around legislation, and do what the hell over they please.

There is no doubt that people voted for the new Mayor and Council to try and stop this riding roughshod over taxpayers.

Its time for the Mayor and Council to step up to the plate and show that they are serious about making changes on how business is done at City Hall.

After 38 years I suspect there are very few of the original property owners still holding title on these properties. Based on my personal purchase and selling of properties in this neighborhood, properties without sewer hookups in the area have often been purchased at a discount to comparable properties with full hookups. Not trying to anger already disgruntled owners however, how much assistance should the current owners expect for a problem that was disclosed prior to purchase and often a discount factor in the transaction?

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