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Owner of lot in new Courtenay subdivision can’t secure mortgage

Hands tied until sewer project complete
File photo of a building site.

A woman who sold her house to purchase a lot in a new Courtenay subdivision cannot secure a mortgage until a sewage project is complete.

The woman, whose last name is Gagne, purchased the lot in February, 2021. Her property is part of the Northridge Estates development in East Courtenay near Costco. Her hands are tied until the Greenwood Trunk Sewer Connection is complete. The project will re-route part of East Courtenay’s sewage flows to a portion of the Greenwood Trunk Sewer that the regional district constructed in 2017.

“I can’t get financing because I can’t get land registration. None of us (private owners) can,” said the woman, who has complained to city officials and council members. “No broker will be able to loan me money if I don’t have a date of ownership. I can’t get a mortgage, so I’m building a house on land I don’t own.”

The city says the Greenwood Trunk project is on track to be complete by the end of this month. It was originally expected to be finished in 2020, but contractors encountered complications with conditions at the site that increased the scope, timeline and costs. Two rounds of ground remediation were required to resolve groundwater issues. A lift station has now been installed. All that remains are final mechanical and electrical installations, testing and commissioning.

RELATED: Courtenay council approves funding reallocation to complete sewer project

“Development approval, and associated building permits, were granted with the clause that occupancy could not be achieved until sewer services were available,” the city says in a statement.

Originally, the city said the developer of Northridge Estates had agreed to construct certain works and services including a temporary sewage lift station, specifically to accommodate sewage infrastructure needs of this new housing.

“The developer agreed to a covenant on all of the lots before proceeding with subdivision, which stated that occupancy was not available until either the Greenwood Trunk project was completed by the city, or an originally intended temporary sewage lift station was built by the developer, specifically to support the development.”

The developer chose to wait until the project is finished, rather than construct the lift station.

Originally budgeted for $4.1 million, the Greenwood Trunk Project has required two budget reallocations to address groundwater issues, bringing the total cost to $6.95 million. The city said it is pursuing all options for cost recovery to offset the additional expense.

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