Update: No shut-off on Monday 22nd

Water Shut-off Jan. 20, 21 and 22, 10pm to 8am

We are pleased to report that for the past two days, almost certainly because of the overnight water shut-offs, water into the treatment plant has exceeded water out of the plant, allowing a modest increase in our storage. This was the case on only two days between January 1 and January 18. This is great news for VPID, but with it comes the not-so-great news that we have decided to extend the overnight shut-offs for an additional three nights (Sat, Sun, Mon). By that time the snow will have cleared to the point where (1) we can truck in water if needed, and (2) our operations team can search for the 3-4 gallon per minute leak that has been very difficult to track down. Because of this we do not anticipate extending the shut-offs beyond Monday.

We have not decided to implement these shut-offs without careful deliberation of our options. Because of the snow accumulation in the past couple of days, and the location of the treatment plant, bringing in tankers of water is not an option. We feel that restoring our storage to levels where we have more operating flexibility is a critical need and have not identified another means of achieving this.

As always, many thanks for your cooperation during this difficult time.

Water Shut-off – January 19th and 20th, 10pm to 8am

We continue to experience critically low water storage levels at our treatment plant. Because of the inclement weather this week, trucking in water is not an option for the next couple of days. The VPID Trustees have therefore instructed our operations team to shut off all water to the district tonight and tomorrow night to reduce outflows and hopefully maintain at least minimal storage. We hope to be able to bring in water on the weekend once the roads are less snowy.

If you are not a full-time resident, please consider not coming to Mayne this weekend. If you are a “full timer” please respect the intent of this shut-off and do not try to run water during the shut-off periods. The less the system drains of water during the night, the easier it will be to restore pressure once the water comes back on.

To protect our water infrastructure, the water will be turned on slowly each morning. Because of this, you will likely experience low pressure for a few hours after 8 am, as well as air or air bubbles in the water because of the water being turned on very slowly.

The VPID trustees greatly appreciate your cooperation during this difficult period.

Fall 2023 Newsletter

It has been an eventful year for VPID. In May, we experienced a catastrophic failure of the electronics that control operation of our water treatment plant. Our extraordinary team of operations staff, Ian and Rob, rose to the challenge and pivoted to a manual system of controlling the inflow of water to our filtration system and conducting essential backwash operations to keep the filters from building up too much pressure. As of this writing the electronics are mostly repaired but we’re still waiting on the final step. At no point was the quality of our drinking water jeopardized.

Two significant leaks happened this summer, one on Spinnaker Drive and the other on Mariners Way. Both involve lines running under the road, so we have road works scheduled for November to complete the repairs. Both leaks affected two homes and in each case, we were able to run water lines from neighboring homes to provide water while the supply to these homes has been turned off. Many thanks to the affected homeowners for their cooperation. We also experienced a leak at the Leighton Lane lift station in June that required rapid work to maintain safe operations of our sewer system.

As you all know, the summer of 2023 was extremely dry, which put a strain on our water supply. During the August long weekend, we experienced the single highest outflow ever recorded at the plant – over 25,000 US gallons in one day. When demand during the busy summer months is high, we simply aren’t able to pump enough water into the system to match outflows, and because of this we had to bring in trucked water in mid-August to ensure our storage remained above the level required by the fire department. Our storage was slow to recover in the early fall – some of our wells showed signs of stress in the late summer – but we are now back to normal levels for this time of year.

Additional storage tanks: The treatment plant has storage for 88,000 US gallons of treated water: 30% of this is held in reserve the fire department, and 13 – 20% is consumed daily, depending on the season.  Refreshed continuously, the water is stored in five large steel tanks that are more than forty years old.  The tanks appear to remain in good shape, but because of their age and, more importantly, our desire to be more resilient to high water demand in the summer, VPID will be acquiring new, modern plastic tanks and adding them to the site. We are purchasing 2 tanks this year and two more next year, which will add 20,000 US gallons of storage at the site.

Winterizing your property: Our recent chilly weather pattern served as a reminder about winterizing your property. If you will be absent from your property for longer than 48 hours, please shut off your water at the roadside curb stop. If you are in doubt as to how to accomplish this task, please contact one of our staff or a trustee for advice, or email at vpid651@outlook.com

Taxes and Tolls for 2024.  Our operating costs have continued to rise this year, as a consequence of the inflationary pressures we have all experienced in the past couple of years.  As well, we continue to be faced with sharply higher interest rates on our infrastructure loans for sewer and water, both of which have been renewed in the past two years.  We were able to reduce the principal on our water loan this year by $35,000, which reduced our carrying costs for this debt. Nevertheless, to offset increased operating costs, and to continue to build our reserves in sewer and water, the Board is recommending $2/month increases in water and sewer tolls, and sewer taxes, and a $1/month increase in water taxes:

Taxes
2023
Tolls
2023
Taxes
2024
Tolls
2024
Sewer$55$46$57$48
Water$22$61$23$63
Rate increase

44th Annual General Meeting

The 44th Annual General Meeting will take place on Saturday April 22nd, 2023 at 1:00pm at the Mayne Island Community Centre, 413 Felix Jack Road.

Agenda:

Introduction of VPID staff and trustees.

  1. Approval of the agenda.
  2. Approval of the minutes of the 43rd VPID AGM held on 23 April 2022.
  3. Business arising from the minutes.
  4. Chair’s report (David Boal).
  5. Manager’s report (Ian Cocker).
  6. 2022 Financial Statements (Mike Jones).
  7. 2023 Budget (Mike Jones).
  8. Motion to appoint the auditor for 2024.
  9. Election of 2 trustees.
  10. New business.
  11. Motion to adjourn.

Financial summary for 2022:

This is a summary of the audited 2022 financial statements, excluding amortization. The complete audited report is available HERE.

*An additional $35,000 was drawn from accumulated cash to reduce the outstanding balance on the sewer loan.

Proposed Budget for 2023

Notes:

  1. Increases in taxes and tolls of 10% were implemented for 2023. This is the first increase since 2019 and was judged necessary because of rising operating costs due to inflation, and a desire to manage our reserves to be prepared for anticipated future capital expenses.
  2. Operating expenses were generally increased in the 2023 budget to reflect observed increase in operating costs, including labour, in 2022.
  3. We anticipate paying down the water loan ($202,710) by $35,000 when it matures in July 2023.
  4. We are beginning to replace the water storage tanks, some of which are over 50 years old, and have budgeted $40,000 in for this capital expense.
  5. No capital projects are planned for sewer.
  6. The estimated current value of our capital assets is $2,142,296.

Election of trustees

Trustee terms of office are three years, elected on a staggered basis to provide continuity of experience among the five trustee positions. Two positions are vacant in 2023: one trustee is seeking re-election and a second individual has been nominated as of the close of nominations on April 7th.

The following bios have been supplied by the 2 candidates:

Don Barthel

Don Barthel and his wife, and three children who aren’t quite yet fully out on their own, have been part time on Mayne in the VPID since year 2000, and full time since 2020. An avid gardener and maker of things, he is one of two co-founders of UsedVictoria.com (and other related websites) and an accounting software company before that.

Don is also a conservationist and long-time volunteer with the Green Party. He has experience sitting on boards of directors with the Green Party and with his daughter’s hockey associations.

His goal is to not impede the already smooth-running organization and to promote conservation within the VPID. He is a proponent of water meters and rainwater collection.

Philippe Kruchten

Education
Master degree in mechanical engineering (1975). Doctorate degree in computer science (1986), both from French engineering schools

Experience
Software design of large, safety-critical, real-time systems with companies in telecommunication, defence and aerospace, in Europe, USA and Canada for about 30 years. Professor of software engineering at UBC for 16 years.

I’ve lived in Vancouver since 1993, but spend 15% of my time on Mayne since 2000 with my wife Sylvie, and now more since I retired from UBC a couple of years ago. I bring experience as a board member of the Engineers and Geoscientists of BC, and a few other technical and scientific organizations.

VPID involvement
As a VPID trustee in 2020-2023, I’ve been involved in the debate on water meters and I organized the referendum that concluded it. I am managing the website VPID.ca that you are currently reading.

VPID update, Spring 2023

Staffing Update

We wish to welcome Kurt Dahle to the VPID technical staff.  Kurt filled in for Rob Noyes over the holidays and we expect to see more of Kurt in the months ahead as he gains more experience with the VPID system. 

Annual General Meeting

The 2023 Annual General Meeting will be held at the Community Centre on April 22rd at 1:00 pm.  Voting for trustees must be done in-person so participation will not be available via zoom.

Election of Trustees

The term of office for VPID trustees is three years and elections are staggered to provide continuity.  For 2023, there are two vacancies; incumbent trustees may seek re-election as they wish.  To be eligible to run as a trustee, you must be a Canadian citizen, 18 years of age or older, have been a resident of BC for the past 6 months and be an owner of land, or their spouse or common-law partner, located within the defined area identified in Village Point Improvement District’s Letters Patent. Anyone wishing to run for trustee is asked to fill out the nomination form found at www.vpid.ca. The completed form must be submitted by April 7th.

2022 Annual Water Report

Household water consumption for 2022 was 4,989,172 US gallons or 56.7 US gallons per connection per day. Compared to 2021, this is a reduction of 2.5% in overall consumption (or 59.2 US gals daily consumption). Thirteen leaks were discovered and stopped, the same as 2021; water losses due to leaks remained stubbornly high at 381,000 US gallons because of periods of below-freezing temperatures.

Capital Projects

Water from the VPID treatment plant is stored at the adjacent tank farm, which consists of five steel-walled tanks with a combined capacity of 88,000 US gals.  The tanks are roughly fifty years old, and their walls are increasingly subject to corrosion.  Over the next few years, these tanks will be replaced by more than ten plastic tanks.  We do not anticipate a serious disruption to water delivery during the changeover.

Leaks on Private Property

Bylaw 101 states that if a landowner fails to shut off their water at the road when away for more than 48 hours and a leak occurs, a fee will be charged for the recovery of labour costs incurred in finding the leak. Property owners unsure of how to shut off their water are asked to contact Ian Cocker at 250-222-0143.

Event of interest

Erica Gies will be presenting a talk on the Slow Water Movement at the Ag Hall on Sunday April 30, 1 to 3pm. Author of the book Water Always Wins, she is an independent journalist and a National Geographic Explorer (www.ericagies.com). For more information, please email Eleanor Cocker at iecocker@shaw.ca

Erica Gies: Water Always Wins

Erica Gies will be presenting the Slow Water Movement and promoting her book Water Always Wins at the Ag Hall on Sunday April 30, 1 to 3pm.

Erica Gies is an independent journalist, a national geographic explorer, and member of the Society of Environmental Journalists. www.ericagies.com

Trouble with water – extreme and frequent floods and droughts — is one of the first obvious signs of climate change. At the same time, our built environment — urban sprawl, industrial agricultural and the engineered way we manage water — is making things worse. As our control systems fail, we are forced to reckon with an eternal truth: water always wins. (from  https://slowwater.world/)

For more information, please email Eleanor Cocker at iecocker@shaw.ca

Rates increase in 2023

As announced in our Newsletter from November 11th, our utility rates for water and sewer will increase in 2023.

2023 Utility Rates:

If your property is connected to both community water and sewer, the table below shows the increase from 2022 to 2023. The new 2023 monthly rates will become effective on January 1st, 2023:

2022 Water & Sewer2023 Water & Sewer
Sewer Taxes$ 50.00Sewer Taxes$  55.00
Water Taxes$ 20.00Water Taxes$ 22.00
Sewer Tolls$ 42.00Sewer Tolls$ 46.00
Water Tolls$ 55.00Water Tolls$ 61.00
Total$167.00$ 184.00

If you are only connected to water, the monthly rate increases from $ 77.00 to $ 83.00.

Some property owners prefer to pay the full year in advance. The annual amount would be $2,208.00 for water and sewer, or $996 for water only.

Let our administrator know if this is your preference: vpid651@outlook.com

Background Information:

VPID submit two annual bylaws to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to declare the rates for water taxes and water tolls. The Ministry approves the water tolls bylaw and the water taxation bylaw, which are then registered with the Inspector of Municipalities. Approved bylaws are available to view on this web site. The new bylaws 123 and 124 have received government approval, and have been posted replacing bylaws 120 and 121.

Water Taxes:

Every property owner in the Village Point Improvement District pays water taxes, whether they are connected to the community water system or not. The level of taxation is determined through our annual budgeting process, and the taxes are held and used internally to pay for infrastructure improvements such as replacement of mainline pipes, well development and the treatment plant.

Water Tolls:

Property owners connected to the Village Point Improvement District community water system pay water tolls, or water usage. Water tolls, as with water taxes, are determined through the annual budgeting process and the tolls are held and used internally. Every property owner connected to the community water system pays the same amount.

Dalton Drive Roadworks: Completed

Wednesday September 7th, & Thursday September 8th, 2022

We have received approval from the Ministry of Transport to proceed with the Dalton Drive Roadworks previously described to you.

In summary:

  • There will be no thoroughfare traffic on Dalton Drive during the excavation which will start September 7th, after the first ferries leave in the morning.
  • Dalton Drive will reopen for thoroughfare traffic by 4:00pm on Thursday, September 8th, to accommodate the late afternoon and evening ferry traffic.
  • We ask for your understanding in the logistics of managing this road repair. We will only understand the details of the work required once Dalton Drive is opened up.
  • Dalton Drive residents on the south side of the trench will have “in and out” access route via Mariners Way, and residents on the north side of the trench will have “in and out” access via Village Bay Road.
  • Residents on Dalton Drive and other residents and visitors on Mayne Island will be notified of the no thoroughfare traffic restriction via strategically placed signage, postings to Mayne Island Facebook.
  • The Mayne Island Fire Department, the Mayne Island Ambulance Service, Emcon Mayne Island, RCMP Outer Gulf Islands, MI Courier will also be notified.

Thank you so much for your understanding, and please accept our apologies for the inconvenience caused.

Ian Cocker & Rob Noyes

The 2022 AGM

Our 2022 AGM has taken place on April 23rd, at 1:00pm via Zoom.

There were 18 landowners in attendance. The slides presented are available here.

Agenda

1 – Approval of the agenda
2 – Approval of the minutes of the 2021 AGM
3 – Business arising from the minutes
4 – Chairperson’s report
5 – Auditor’s report
6 – Appointment of the auditor for 2022
7 – Financial results from 2021
8 – Budget for 2022
9 – Questions from the floor
10 – Elections of trustees (see note below)
11 – Adjournment

Minutes of this meeting will be posted shortly.

Note re: election of trustees:
As of our deadline of April 8, we had received two nominations from landowners, for two positions to fill on the board, from
– Michael Jones, and
– Kevin McIntyre
They are therefore elected “by acclamation”. Here are some short bios for our 2 new trustees:

Michael Jones

I have been regularly visiting Mayne Island since 1980, when my in-laws built a home on Leighton Lane. In 2010 my wife Linda and I bought this house and it is now our principal residence.   I am a retired academic, having spent 23 years as a professor of “Fisheries” at a US university, mostly working on Great Lakes fishery management issues. During 2020 and 2021 I served on the VPID metering committee and helped with research to inform our thinking about pros and cons of individual household meters. My primary interest in joining the VPID Board is to help promote water conservation in the district to protect our valuable aquifer.

Kevin McIntyre

Kevin McIntyre is a retired insurance broker, and was CEO of Underwriters Insurance Brokers and of Guardian Risk Managers. He is a graduate of BCIT and the Insurance Institute of Canada. He currently sits on the Board of BCAA, where he chairs the Finance and Investment Committee. On Mayne Island, he is the Chair of the Board of Mayne Island Assisted Living Society. He previously served as a corporate director of both ICBC, and of Optimum West Insurance Company. Kevin is a past president and past chair of the Insurance Brokers Association of BC. He has also been certified as an expert witness by the Supreme Court of BC on insurance matters and assists various lawyers with several cases a year

Universal Water Metering: Financial analysis

Several requests have been made for additional information to assist on decision making for the upcoming referendum on water meters. Below is a financial analysis.

A. Project costs:

  1. Installation: Water meters must be placed in new, larger boxes within a local environment that may range from loose soil to conglomerate. Based on quotes received, we estimate that the average installation cost will be $1000 per household.  
  2. Hardware: Several types of meters were considered. The selected meter communicates usage information to a remote server, eliminating the need for drive-by or walk-by readings. The cost is $300 per unit. The cost for a new, larger box and miscellaneous equipment another $100. An additional charge of $20 annually per unit for data storage is offset by eliminating the need for VPID staff to read such meters on-site. For 250 meters, the annual cost is $5,000.
  3. Total Capital Cost: The total capital cost for 250 meters is 250 X $1,400 = $350,000.

B. Potential Savings and Economics:

  • The annual cost to borrow $350,000 at 2.0% over 15 years is $29,000, resulting in an annual tax increase of $106 for all properties, connected or not.
  • The majority of operating costs are fixed (such as daily labour, insurance, audit fees) regardless of the volume of water consumed. A 15% reduction in water usage will only affect hydro and chlorine costs. The annual savings are estimated to be $1,000.
  • Potential labour savings in finding leaks on private property is estimated to be $1,500 per year.
  • Over the last 4 years, the cost to truck in water averaged $2,000 per year. Assuming meters would eliminate the need to truck in water results in a $2,000 annual saving.
  • The cost to collect and administer data is estimated to be $7,500 per year in addition to the $5,000 mentioned above in A.2.
  • In summary:      
    • Annual savings            =   $  4,500 
    • Annual costs                 =     41,500    
    • Net increase in costs =   $ 37,000
Conclusion: 

1.    There is no economic benefit to installing water meters since the total annual cost for water would increase an estimated $37,000 per year.

2.    The only justification for installing meters is to allow VPID to move towards a consumption-based invoicing system whereby full-time residents would pay considerably more and part-time residents slightly less for water.

3.    Note that all property owners not yet connected to water would have a tax increase of $106 per year. 

C. Consumption Based Invoicing:

  • The current system recognizes that most operating costs for providing water are fixed no matter what volume of water is produced and consequently each connected property is charged the same toll. Suppose instead that all operating costs, fixed or otherwise, are charged to a residence according to how much water is consumed. Three alternative scenarios for consumption-based invoicing are analyzed:

1.    A couple living full-time on Mayne and consuming 120 gallons per day.

2.    A couple uses their residence only during the summer or 62 days.

3.    A couple uses their residence all year but are there only 30% of the time.

  • The below calculations are based on tolls reverting to normal rates after the accumulated operating deficit eliminated and operating costs for water become $.0306/ gallon:
Base caseMeters addedFull timeSummer onlyPart-time
Tolls$500$534$1,340$228$402
Taxes$400$506$506$506$506
Total$900$1,040$1,846$734$908
  • The conclusion is: that full time residents would see a significant increase in water costs, while summer only residents will save in the range of $166 per year and those who use their properties part-time year-round would see little change.