Letter: Burnaby wants to ding us $48,000 so it can upgrade sewers


Re: Resident lobbies Burnaby to stop ‘unethical’ $33K fee, NOW News

We are one of the 6,400 properties here in Burnaby being affected by (City of Burnaby) bylaw #13722. 

And probably one of the few who even know anything about this bylaw and all that it entails.

In your previous stories you have paraphrased Jonathan Helmus (Burnaby’s assistant director of engineering for infrastructure and development)as saying, "(Dave) Hayre's redevelopment will initiate the city to extend the sewer line along the lane behind his entire block, Helmus said, but Hayre will only have to pay for the share of the project behind his property.” 

In reality, Burnaby is already extending storm sewers in lanes that have no redevelopment plans by current property owners.

In the past, capital expenditures such as these which are for the "common good" were done on a cost-sharing basis between the city and the property owners.

We have lived in this house since 1982, and now we have retired and saved all our working lives to afford to be able to build a house that will not only allow us to live comfortably, but will meet the needs for my ongoing medical issues.

We recently received an email from the engineering department informing us that to receive our building permit, we will have to pay a $47,965.50 fee for the city to upgrade storm sewers in our back lane. They say this may happen in the next two years and they will hold the money until then. 

They also wrote that when this project is finally installed, we will receive an invoice/refund of any difference in the final cost.

storm drain hayre
The City of Burnaby says homeowner Dave Hayre has to pay for a portion of this ditch to be turned into a modern storm drain sewer when he redevelops his property. - Jennifer Gauthier

We have paid property taxes here for 38 years and know that a portion of those tax dollars have gone into Burnaby being able to have an approximately $2-billion reserve fund. We would like to know why some of that reserve could not be put towards the cost of expanding the storm sewer system.

Do property owners who have had storm sewer upgrades since 2017 know that they owe the City of Burnaby the cost of those upgrades and that the outstanding balance is accruing interest?

Do they know that if they sell their property that the balance owing for these storm sewers will be due?

Do they know that if they decide to build a new home they have to pay that money up front?

As we understand it, the city may be willing to revisit this bylaw so we would like to urge any property owners that are not already connected to storm sewers or that have had storm sewers installed after 2017 to research this bylaw (#13722) and see how it is going to affect them.

Evelyn and Felix Lucarino, Burnaby



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