Trustees asked to close loophole on sewage disposal

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, October 18 2016

The Gabriola Local Trust Committee (LTC) is being asked to look into a loophole which appears to allow property owners only an outhouse, pit latrine, or buckets - in lieu of approved septic disposal system.

It’s only for a short time - but the loophole arises when property owners live in accessory buildings while constructing the actual dwelling on a piece of property.

Neighbours of people using such methods are concerned with what the septic disposal/treatment might mean for the water table and wells underground.

As was brought up during the town hall portion of the last LTC meeting, neither Island Health nor the Islands Trust have authority to require owners be hooked up to a system.

Trustee Heather O’Sullivan said she was surprised to hear of such a loophole, considering travel trailers on lots being developed are required to be hooked up to an approved system.

She asked staff for more information.

Planner Sonja Zupanec said staff could bring more clarity, but she also said, “the RDN won’t issue an occupancy permit for a building without being hooked up to an approved system.”

O’Sullivan asked if someone could live in the accessory building (without a permit) while the primary dwelling was being built.

Zupanec said she could speak to RDN (Regional District of Nanaimo) staff for more clarity.

“This is part of the housing review, and is on a long list of items needing clarity.”