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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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:
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
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.
Operating expenses were generally increased in the 2023 budget to reflect observed increase in operating costs, including labour, in 2022.
We anticipate paying down the water loan ($202,710) by $35,000 when it matures in July 2023.
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.
No capital projects are planned for sewer.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com
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/)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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 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
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:
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.
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.
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.
Annual savings = $ 4,500
Annual costs = 41,500
Net increase in costs = $ 37,000
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:
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.
An electronic vote was held on the topic of Universal Metering for the VPID. It closed Sunday, January 30th at 8pm. Note that all title holders of properties in VPID are entitled to vote; for example, if there are two title holders for a property, both get to vote. This referendum is not restricted to only those who currently have water service; all title holders can vote.
Here are some useful things to know as you consider whether you are in support of a proposal to install meters on each VPID subscribed property. We’ll cover A. Water supply and demand, B. Meters, C. Costs, and D. FAQ: answers to general questions about this referendum.
We live in an area with finite capacity to provide potable fresh water. A groundwater study completed a few decades ago suggests our aquifer (the porous layers of ground beneath our properties that hold fresh water) can likely supply roughly 8 million gallons of water per year.
We have six wells currently in operation, which for the past few years have supplied roughly 5.8 million gallons of water per year.
One of these wells (#19) began operating this summer and appears to be a good producer (~ 3,800 gallons/day, 2nd highest production currently).
Our water plant has a storage capacity of approximately 90,000 gallons.
Demand for water increases considerably during the summer, especially on holiday weekends, when daily outflows from the plant can exceed 20,000 gallons.
Meanwhile, the aquifer receives very little new water in the summer, so the supply of water during late summer can be strained.
Because of this, sometimes the storage of water at the plant can fall to levels that make it necessary to replenish the storage with water brought from off-island in trucks. This has happened twice in the past four years: in 2018 5 tanker loads were purchased and provided 19,000 gallons; in 2020 3 tanker loads were purchased and provided 11,400 gallons; in 2019 and 2021 we did not need to purchase water.
The number of properties using water in VPID is increasing. We currently have 237 properties with connections and 38 with no connections. 5 additional connections are projected in the next five years.
B. Potential benefits of meters
Household meters would allow individual owners to become more aware of their water use rates, which might motivate conservation behavior, especially if a “general average” of “conservation-level” use rates were made public.
Research elsewhere suggests that when household meters are installed, water consumption declines. The most rigorous studies suggest reductions of up to 15%, although there is quite a bit of variability among studies and among households within a study area. For example, West Vancouver reported a 15% reduction in annual water consumption after water meters were installed.
Household meters could improve VPID’s ability to detect and reduce water loss due to leaks on individual properties. VPID managers believe that the existing meters, located on the main service lines at 4 points throughout the VPID, and 15 shut-off valves distributed throughout the system, are together very useful for effectively isolating leak areas within the VPID system. However, household meters, if monitored regularly, could pinpoint household leaks more efficiently.
Regarding leaks, in the past three years the estimated total water loss due to leaks was:
# residential leaks
0 US gal.
20,350 US gal
15,333 US gal.
12,150 US gal
223,000 US gal
92,000 US gal
Note: We had 2 sizeable residential leaks in 2021; one that was 39,000 to 42,000 gallons and one that was 30,000 gallons. The location of these leaks made the search for them difficult
C. Prospective costs
Installation: For VPID, 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.
Hardware: At $150, the least expensive meter that we examined is battery driven and its LCD display must be read on-site by VPID staff. A mid-range option adds a transmitter that makes the meter readable by wand, a simpler and less error-prone process, but raises the price per unit to about $250. The most sophisticated meters communicate to a remote server, eliminating the need for drive-by or walk-by readings, but the price jumps to $400 or more per unit. 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.
To summarize, the total cost of installation and all hardware is between $1200 and $1600 per household. If these costs were spread over a decade, at current interest rates, the basic residential water bill would rise by about $15/month from $75 to $90. This alone will cost $180 per year. Note that this may be an underestimate because it is based on previous vendor quotes, and doesn’t include the labor costs of collecting and analyzing of meter data. Accounting for these factors would increase the cost by an additional $5 or more per month, resulting in a total monthly charge in the order of $95.
Note that installing water meters will not reduce VPID’s operating expenses.
D. Frequently asked questions (about the referendum)
1. Are all property owners whose names appear on title eligible for a vote?
Yes. As an example, a husband and wife whose names are both on title will each get a ballot. But there is only one ballot per person, even if you own multiple properties.
2. Is the proposed non-binding vote confidential?
Yes. The software used for the vote is credentialed and virtually bulletproof. Individual Records will not leave Canada, nor are they permitted to be used in any other way than for this singular vote. Nobody will know individual votes. Only the aggregate is made available to our return officer (and webmaster), who is a trustee.
3. Is a binding fiscal vote possible through electronic voting?
No. See Bylaw #119 on our website. Municipal Affairs dictates that such votes must be in person.
4. Will a binding fiscal vote occur this year?
Should there be a positive non-binding vote at the end of January on the question, the VPID board will arrange a Special General Meeting where all property owners can be present. With health restrictions related to covid 19, it seems unlikely this year.
5. Will there be changes in individual property owner taxes and/or tolls this year?
No. The budget for 2022 has been set. The year’s budget was set in late November so that tolls and taxes could be ratified by the Ministry for a start in January. This is the normal case.
6. Several owners ask that we stop talking about this idea. “We’ve been at it since the district came into existence, and all votes over 40 years have been negative.”
The electronic vote will determine what follows.
7. Can part-timers get a break in tolls?
This is unlikely for the first year should universal metering be introduced. The district must set up benchmarks over the first year of use, with no change in rates. Then the financial analysis presented here must be considered
8. What is the expected life of the best self-reporting meter?
About 10 years. Further cost can then be expected, either in terms of battery replacement or innovation, but this is far in the future.
9. Does the cost of implementation and the ongoing heightened administrative cost, justify the intent of conservation through metering?
Phil passed away suddenly in late July. Phil was well known to the Village Bay community. Always ready to address systems problems or discuss things, he is sadly missed by his VPID family. We will miss his enthusiasm, friendship and love of life. Rest in peace Phil.
At various times throughout the year, messages are sent via email to about 80% of the property owners. We are grateful to those who provided us with email addresses. For those who haven’t, we urge you to do so as it becomes time consuming to contacteveryone.
A portion of the three cedar trees on the Spinnaker septic field will be cut in early November. Please contact Ian Cocker at 250 222 0143 if interested in some of the firewood.
A tip for maintaining septic tanks in good working condition. Once a year, flush raw chopped up liver down a toilet. The liver promotes the action of bacteria found in septic tanks.