To learn more about any of these news items, please contact the RM Office.
Public infrastructure fee finalized for wastewater system
FEBRUARY 25, 2021 - St. Andrews Council has finalized the public infrastructure fee for properties in the South St. Andrews Wastewater System. The one-time fee will be lower than the original estimate because the system has been completed under budget.
Council confirmed on February 23 that the fee will be $7,264, compared to the original estimate of $7,390. Property owners will be able to pay the entire fee up front, or can finance it on property taxes over a 20-year term. If financing, the annual payment will be $464 and the first payment will be due October 2021, when property taxes are paid.
Details will be mailed out next week to all homeowners in the service area. For a complete overview of property owners' costs and fees, visit the Facts for Homeowners page on our website. You can download a fact sheet showing all costs at a glance.
Notice of Application from the PUB Regarding Initial Interim Wastewater Rates for the South St. Andrews Wastewater Utility
FEBRUARY 22, 2021 - The R.M. of St. Andrews has applied to the Public Utilities Board (PUB) for initial interim wastewater rates for the South St. Andrews Wastewater Utility as set out in By-Law No. 4350. View the notice here.
Special service levy by-law proceeding to The Municipal Board for approval
FEBRUARY 4, 2021 - St. Andrews Council has unanimously voted in favour of proceeding with By-Law No. 4349, which proposes a special levy on unconnected properties in the service area for the South St. Andrews Wastewater System. Council will now ask The Municipal Board to give final approval to the by-law. Council’s vote was held on February 3 following a February 2 public hearing, when residents had the opportunity to present comments and concerns related to the by-law. Council heard two presentations and reviewed 48 objections presented in writing. These submissions, as well as comments received through the 2020 community survey, will be forwarded to The Municipal Board along with the RM’s request for approval of the proposed by-law.
If the by-law is approved, unconnected properties in the service area will pay an annual levy of $100 once the new system begins operating. The intent is to keep utility rates reasonable during the first few years, when fewer properties will be using the service. The levy would be prorated in the first year of the system’s operation, and the by-law would be in effect for six years. At that point, Council would decide whether a further by-law is needed.
Recordings of the public hearing, special Council meeting and information meetings can be viewed on the RM's YouTube Channel. For more information, please read the proposed by-law and the presentation explaining the rationale for the levy.
Council thanks all residents who took the time to provide comments about this important decision.
Virtual Open House recordings now on YouTube
FEBRUARY 2, 2021 - Recordings of the information meetings presented on Zoom last week are now available for viewing on the RM's YouTube Channel.
Over 200 people tuned in as RM staff answered common questions about the start-up of the South St. Andrews Wastewater System. With so many people participating, it was impossible to answer every question during the calls.
Reminder: Rebates available if you need more than 200 feet of pipe
FEBRUARY 2, 2021 - If your property has a long setback, you may be eligible for a rebate on some pipe costs as you prepare to connect to the new South St. Andrews Wastewater System.
Through the Homeowner Infrastructure Assistance Grant, the RM will reimburse homeowners who must push more than 200 feet of pipe to reach the curbstop. To receive the rebate, just submit your invoice to the RM Office once the work is done. The RM will rebate costs for the portion of the installation beyond 200 feet.
This grant was approved by Council in 2017 with the aim of keeping homeowners' costs reasonable - particularly for older homes along the river, where lots are typically deep and narrow.
Virtual Open Houses on new wastewater system - Jan. 27 and 28
UPDATED JANUARY 18, 2021 - Have questions about the South St. Andrews Wastewater System? Get the answers you need by participating in one of our Virtual Open Houses. During these interactive Zoom events, you'll have the opportunity to ask about implementation plans for the new utility. Register here.
Wastewater system public hearing - February 2
UPDATED JANUARY 18, 2021 - A public hearing has been scheduled on February 2 at 6:00 p.m. to present the proposal for a $100/year special service levy on unconnected properties. Council will hear presentations from any taxpayers wishing to comment.
If residents have objections, they may be filed in writing with the Chief Administrative Officer before the hearing begins at: RM of St. Andrews Municipal Office, Box 130, 500 Railway Avenue, Clandeboye, Manitoba R0C 0P0. All objections, written or verbal, must be filed before the hearing adjourns, and must include the name, address and property description of the person filing the objection and the grounds of their objection.
Read more about the hearing and proposal here.
By-Laws endorsed by Council to usher in new wastewater system
DECEMBER 10, 2020 - On December 8, St. Andrews Council unanimously endorsed two by-laws supporting the start-up of the new South St. Andrews Wastewater System.
- By-Law No. 4349 supports a plan to charge a special service levy to unconnected properties once the system begins operating. If the by-law is approved by The Municipal Board, each household in the area will pay $100 a year until the property connects.
The revenue from this levy will go toward operating costs, helping to reduce the utility rates charged to users as properties gradually hook up to the system. The aim is to keep rates reasonable in the first years of operation, when only a few hundred properties are expected to be using the system. As more households connect and begin paying utility charges, there will be less need for the levy.
The interim solution was discussed with residents in the community survey conducted by the RM last summer. At that time, 42% of those responding said they could accept such a fee while about a third said they would be opposed.
- By-Law No. 4350 outlines the rules and proposed rates for users of the new utility. Connected properties will receive a quarterly utility bill, including a basic minimum charge and a $/cubic meter charge for the volume of wastewater generated by the household during the billing period.
The proposed rates were determined by a study of projected costs and revenues. The study showed that the interim rate in South St. Andrews should be roughly on par with the amount paid by residents in neighbouring West St. Paul. The Public Utilities Board will set the rates in the coming months after receiving the RM's rate application. Originally, the by-law also proposed that a $75 inspection fee be charged to new customers at the time of connection. However, Council voted to remove this fee before passing the by-law.
In January, more details about next steps will be mailed to all households in the service area. In the meantime, the by-laws and proposed schedule of rates can be viewed here.
April is target date to start up the pumps
DECEMBER 4, 2020 - Over the coming months, we will be finalizing the rate study and sending it to the Public Utilities Board so rates can be set in time for an April 2021 start-up. The final cost per property will be confirmed in the new year, when Council reviews the local improvement district by-law.
We are also continuing to finalize our service agreements with the City of Winnipeg and the R.M. of West St. Paul.
Special per-lot levy proposed to manage early utility rates
DECEMBER 4, 2020 - One of the important questions related to rate-setting for this system is how to keep utility rates reasonable for the earliest users.
It can be a difficult question for a new utility like this one, which customers will move to gradually over a period of five years. As a public utility, the new wastewater system must pay for itself, which means all operating costs must be covered by customers.
However, during the first few years, only about a third of the customer base is expected to be using the system and paying quarterly utility fees. The RM needs a way to ensure early revenues are high enough to avoid deficits, without making early utility rates so high that households delay connecting.
The RM's rate consultant has recommended a solution that will be discussed by Council at their December 8 meeting. Under this proposal, all properties in the service area would pay a special service levy of $100/year until they hook up to the system. The resulting revenue would provide enough financial cushion to keep utility rates roughly on par with those paid in neighbouring communities like West St. Paul.
This interim solution was discussed with residents in a community survey conducted by the RM last summer. At that time, about 42% of those responding said they could live with a fee of $100-$150, while about a third said they would be opposed.
In the proposal going to Council on December 8, the levy would be prorated to $75 in the first year, assuming the start date for the system is April 2021. Over time, the annual levy could be reduced as more properties hooked up and began paying quarterly utility feeds. Once 1,200 properties were connected to the system, it could be possible for the levy to be dropped completely.
If Council supports this proposal, there will be additional consultation so residents can ask questions and provide feedback. In January, information will be mailed to all residents in the service area.
Winnipeg Committee Chair says St. Andrews agreement will go forward
DECEMBER 2, 2020 - With recent media stories focusing on Winnipeg's concerns about long-term sewage capacity, residents may be wondering how the South St. Andrews Wastewater Project could be affected. Here are some key facts:
- The City's service agreement with St. Andrews won't be affected because it was established in a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed several years ago. The public service and the City's waste and water committee have recommended that the commitment be fulfilled and the agreement finalized.
- The St. Andrews system will have little or no impact on Winnipeg's capacity concerns, which are focused on biosolids. Our system will deliver only wastewater to the North End Treatment Plant.
- The agreement with St. Andrews will provide service for 1,800 homes, which is expected to be adequate for the next decade.
To ensure residents' long-term needs are met, the RM is now developing a wastewater management strategy for the entire municipality. The impact on future development will be considered as discussions with Winnipeg service continue.
St. Andrews CAO DJ Sigmundson said he understands the City's concerns about long-term sewage treatment capacity, which are common throughout the province. He encourages the more senior levels of government to respond by moving forward quickly with grants from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
"Capacity shortages could be a reason for the Manitoba Government to extend the mandatory five-year timeline for households to hook up to a new sewage system," he said. "If Winnipeg's concerns were to necessitate a cap on our service at 1,800 homes, I would be recommending to Council that we seek an extension from the Province on that five-year deadline."
Meanwhile, the South St. Andrews project is nearing the finish line. Final preparations for rate-setting and by-law approvals are underway, with start-up targeted for the spring of 2021.
Wastewater survey results available
AUGUST 14, 2020 - Results of the recent survey on the South St. Andrews Wastewater System have now been compiled. Residents responded enthusiastically, with 655 people completing the survey. About 90% of responses were from households in the service area.
The results show that residents want clear information and assistance to manage costs and get work done on their property. This feedback will help the RM make important decisions linked to implementation of the new system. Learn more.
Survey now completed
AUGUST 6, 2020 - After a six-week polling period, this survey closed on August 4, 2020. There was a great response from households in the service area and we will be sharing the results soon. Thanks to everyone who participated!
Survey closing date extended to August 4
JULY 17, 2020 - Beautiful summer days are busy days, so we've decided to give residents more time to answer the survey on the South St. Andrews Wastewater System. The deadline to respond has been extended to August 4, 2020.
So far, reaction has been enthusiastic and well above the typical response rate for a survey of this kind. To date, 345 responses have been received, with 85% from within the service area for the new system.
How to arrange for a water meter installation
JULY 13, 2020 - Water meter installations for the South St. Andrews Wastewater System are now underway. To arrange for a meter to be installed on your property, please contact the RM office by using the inquiry form or by calling 204-738-2076.
There is no additional charge for the meter or installation. As of today, about 148 meters have been installed by a company contracted by the municipal government.
New committee advising on wastewater consultations
JUNE 30, 2020 - A new implementation committee has been formed to help Council gather community input and communicate with residents as the RM prepares for the launch of the new South St. Andrews wastewater system.
This new committee, the South St. Andrews Waste Water Implementation Advisory Group, will help shape the public consultation on user rates, financing, billing and other decisions that will be made before the system becomes operational. The RM will soon launch a public survey that has been developed with the committee's input.
The committee includes Mayor Joy Sul and Councillors Matthew Prychun, Darryl Pohl and Kristin Hoebee, representing wards within the service area as well as citizen representative Karen McKenzie. Also participating in the meetings is the RM's Chief Administrative Officer, DJ Sigmundson.
When will everything be finished?
JUNE 30, 2020 - That's a question RM staff hear frequently as construction of a major infrastructure project nears completion. You may not have seen much construction activity in your neighbourhood lately, and may be wondering when the new South St. Andrews wastewater system will be completed.
We all look forward to the day when all sod is replaced and surfaces are restored, and we are encouraging contractors to complete this work as soon as they can. In some cases, contractors have needed to wait for earth to thaw and settle, which can take longer than we may realize. This year work schedules may also be complicated by the COVID-19 disruptions many businesses have experienced.
We'll keep you posted as other final details are resolved, including when the new system will be ready for operation, when initial payments will be due and the financing options available. If you live in the service area, you can expect to be contacted directly in the coming months.
In the meantime, thanks for your patience. Please contact the RM Office if you are experiencing any disruptions because of the work underway.
Coming soon: Public consultation on utility rates
JUNE 15, 2020 – At the end of
this summer, the RM will be asking the Public Utilities Board to set user-rates
for the first year of operation. We want to make sure these rates are as fair
and affordable as possible, right from the beginning, and soon we will be
seeking your input and ideas for achieving that goal.
Later this month the community will be provided with
information about the decisions facing us and the possible implications. We’ll
then ask for your feedback through a survey, written comments and other appropriate
means for these physically distanced times.
Decisions about rates can be difficult to make, particularly
during the first years of a new utility. Originally, Council agreed that the costs of operating the
system should be shared only by those households using the system during any
given year. The drawback of that principle is that costs would be high during
the initial phase-in period, if only a few hundred households are connected to the system. In the longer term, as more households connect,
there will be more ratepayers to share the costs, so everyone’s rates should go
down. The big question facing us now is, what should we do in the meantime to
ensure that utility rates are fair and affordable?
During the public consultation, we will seek your
views and ideas as we address this and other questions. The goal is to balance all of the
RM’s priorities for rates, including the desire to have users share the costs
and the need to ease the transition as people in South St. Andrews move to the
Please stay tuned for more information later in June.
Looking for your ideas: How can we make it easier to prepare?
JUNE 15, 2020 - About 1,800 residents will be preparing to connect to the new system over the next five years. Are there ways the RM could make the process easier? Would you like assistance with finding qualified contractors or perhaps financing the costs?
We'd like to hear your ideas, and about any difficulties you may be encountering. To share your comments, please contact the RM Office.
JUNE 15, 2020 - The River Road lift station and odour control systems are about 60% completed and should be substantially complete by late August. Thank you for your patience while this work is underway.
Water meter installations resumed in May after being put on hold due to COVID-19. We continue to make progress on easements, inspections of work to date and addressing deficiencies.
We are also in the process of converting our memorandums of understanding with other municipalities into formal agreements.
More details on project status are available here.