Bob and Diana Wilson are upset over the fact they’ll be paying nearly $25,000 to connect their home to Langford’s sewer lines by December.
The Wilsons have lived in the quiet and friendly neighbourhood along Skedans Road for 26 years, a stone’s throw from exit 14 along the Trans-Canada Highway. They say some of their neighbours on that road have lived there for over 30 years. As strata members, they’re concerned that impending installation fees have pulled their neighbourhood apart.
“This situation has … pitted neighbour against neighbour, forcing some to sell or lose their homes,” states a letter they sent to Langford city council. “We feel it is preposterous for Langford to expect that homeowners can afford this. Some are pensioners and will have retirement funds wiped out, some just can’t afford it period.”
Bob was retired, but has since returned to work to help pay the hefty sewage bill. With COVID-19 delivering a blow to many middle-class household incomes, the couple is asking Langford council to help dig their strata members of over a dozen out of potential debt.
They’ve sent a letter asking for Langford to pay for the installation of the sewer main on Skedans Road and Skedans Place, leaving homeowners with the hook-up costs for each individual property. If not, they’re asking the City to contribute a portion of funds towards the cost of the main lines.
These requests come after the strata failed to sell the entire land parcel – once with a buyer who dropped out after a year, and another time where they claim Langford allegedly told potential buyers that higher density housing wouldn’t be an option, which they believe made it unattractive for purchase. Notably, they were able to get a deadline extension, pushing the previous December 2019 due date back a year. But with just under six months remaining, the Wilsons and strata members are scrambling for help.
The City of Langford has told Black Press Media that they’re happy to entertain case-by-case situations and potentially look at another extension, given the current pandemic.
“An extension is the last thing we want,” said Bob Wilson. “It doesn’t change the fact that we need to deal with the situation one way or another.”
The City says they will look at all options to support the strata so long as they don’t negatively affect the broader taxpayers. They’ve pointed out that previous financial assistance offers are still available with TD Canada Trust and Corix/West Shore Environmental Services (WSES), which operates the City’s sewer system.