The future of a housing project on Government Street in Ashcroft is in limbo after the developer balked against picking up the tab for a drainage study on the site.
Santo Talarico, who is involved in a joint venture with Robert Landucci on the eight-lot subdivision, said the drainage study, estimated to cost between $60,000 and $80,000, should be paid for by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, noting the catchment area includes 60 acres from Elephant Mountain to Government Street and would take four to six months to complete.
“We’re not prepared to pay for that, it’s a MoTI issue, not ours,” Talarico told council during the Sept. 14 meeting.
“We want to get that project off the ground but to do that we need to have a clear and concise budget. We can’t do that while we’re waiting for a study that we don’t feel is our responsibility.”
Yoginder Bhalla, Ashcroft’s Chief Financial Officer, said the Village would pay for the study and bill developers on future Government Street projects proportionally. The move is standard practice in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, he said, noting the Village cannot cover the cost of private developments. Staff had sought legal and planning advice on the matter.
Council directed staff to look into the costs of the study and the proportionate costs for properties and report back to council in a special meeting if necessary.
Ashcroft Mayor Barbara Roden said the Village is also pursuing a grant for the drainage study project, but Talarico argued that there is no guarantee the funding will come.
“We’re not prepared to do that study phase which is going to add a lot to the cost of that subdivision,” he said.
Coun. Nadine Davenport also suggested looking into other grants should this one not be successful.
“I think it is important we do bring this forward in a timely manner,” Coun. Marilyn Anderson agreed. “Obviously they’re discouraged by it and we don’t want to see that development go either.”