Reeve of the RM of Wilton Glen Dow says the RM is fully committed to supporting residents of Lone Rock as the hamlet is rezoned into country residential properties.
Residents in the hamlet of Lone Rock say they were shocked when the RM reportedly announced they will be shutting the hamlet’s water and sewer supply in a meeting last Tuesday. Dow says the meeting was a discussion around changing the hamlet to a country residential subdivision, as well as moving from subsidized water and sewer to self-managed systems.
“You have your own house, you have your own well, you have your own sewer system that could be a holding tank or pump out or field or something like that. You’re self-contained basically and you look after your own costs.”
Dow says the RM was having to cover more and more of the hamlets costs and needed to find another way. He adds that Wilton will be going into a complete renewal of sewer and water services in the next couple of years, which would cost the RM $3 million or $80,000 per household.
“What we decided to do was offer an opportunity for them to sell their dwelling at a fair appraised value plus five per cent. It was mostly a generous offer to say if this is really a problem as we’re moving in this direction here’s an opportunity to make a decision to move to another location closer to better services.”
The RM says they have been purchasing properties in Lone Rock as an undisclosed buyer since May 2018. Dow says confirming their plans to convert the hamlet could cause the property values to decrease. Therefore Dow explains the RM has been offering to buy properties to see how many people would relocate.
Up to $2 million has been budgeted. Dow says the total assessment of the town is $2.1 million and the RM does not expect to use all of the money set aside.
Once the RM has a firm number of residents who choose to stay in Lone Rock as they will apply for a change of status from the province. Dow says the properties that the RM purchases will undergo a home inspection.
“There will be then a determination whether they can be sold off-site because country residential needs a bit more space to be functional or if they’re quite good houses they will be immediately converted to the newer system then we’ll test run that and they’ll be put back on the market.”
Residents who choose to not sell their homes will be able to attend another meeting in January to determine their next steps.
“We’ll be updating them on our dialogue with the government to transfer from a hamlet to country residential, says Dow. “We will have pretty firm numbers on the cost to convert and how we may be able to assist them in that area.”
As for property owners who choose to do nothing, Dow says the hamlet will still function until 2020 with sewer and 2022 with water. After that point, he is not sure what will happen.
Dow says residents can expect communication from the RM within the week to clarify the dates for when the water and sewer will be shut down, as well as discuss opportunities for a self-managed system and their specific circumstances.