Should Mountain High sewage treatment lead to Mountain High utility bills?

The SSPOA has been on the case and have come up with some disturbing conclusions.

The Silver Star Property Owners Association (a community not for profit advocacy group) has spent the previous 12 months compiling data from members and benchmarking pricing across similar communities in B.C. with some astonishing results. Over the years, Silverhawk [1]has been unwilling to engage in any meaningful dialogue. Given their monopoly, customers are keen to understand why the community is paying on average 300% more for their sewage service when compared to the rest of the Province.

To add some momentum to the debate, the Silver Star Property Owners Association is holding meetings with defined interest groups within the community. The first to be held was with commercial operators and stratas on 29 January 2019 and the next two will be held on 17 March.

The community is now mobilizing in a way that we have not seen before. There is wide spread support from within the community to consider, and if need be, fund activities that have not been considered before.

The sewage business within British Columbia remains unregulated other than for environmental standards overseen by the Provincial Government’s Ministry of the Environment. For 20 years now, Silverhawk has provided sewage services to the growing population at Silver Star Mountain. The community has been faced with sewage charges well above the Provincial average. Owners building new homes are subject to what appear to be excessive and arbitrary connection charges to the one and only available sewage system for the community.

The President of the Silver Star Property Owners Association, Mike Waberski, has this to say:

“It has become clear over the years that there is a high level of frustration with Silverhawk felt by the community at large here at Silver Star. We have spent the last year attempting to engage in constructive dialogue with Silverhawk, without success (see links to correspondence below). We have also been speaking with the Provincial government as sewage would appear to be the only utility without any regulatory oversight from a rate setting and business practice perspective.” (see link to the SSPOA Position Paper below)

Mike continues, “Our hope was that the Provincial government would use one of its existing regulatory bodies to provide what we believe is badly needed oversight. Dialogue continues, but customers continue to be faced with excessive annual bills and additional hook up charges, that appear to have been already paid for by the original developers of the sub division. We are hopeful of a satisfactory regulatory outcome. However, there is a pressing need to focus both government and Silverhawk on finding an acceptable solution sooner rather than later”.

We would like to see Silverhawk voluntarily engage with the community and for government to ensure that an unregulated monopoly controlling a utility as critical as sewage, rapidly becomes a thing of the past.

[1] Silverhawk is owned and operated independently of the lift operator.

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