The transfer of the Sage Mesa Water System to the RDOS passes a second significant step.
1. In December 2022, the Sage Mesa Water System owners signed an agreement expressing interest and conditions precedent to transfer the utility ownership to the RDOS.
2. Yesterday (January 19), the RDOS board directed staff to commence the utility acquisition due diligence to evaluate the Sage Mase Water System. The system will pay for the cost of this work.
The Sage Mesa Water System is privately owned and provides water to Sage Mesa, Sandstone Westwood Properties, Pine Hills Golf Course, WOW Golf Course, and Husula Highlands. The RDOS has been contracted to operate the system for the past ten years. The Provincial Comptroller of Water Rights has been managing the system since 1990.
On December 23, 2022, the owners signed an agreement with the RDOS, formally initiating the acquisition process. The RDOS has 550 days (until June 24) from December 23, 2022, to complete due diligence and meet the conditions precedent.
Between now and March 2023 – the RDOS will look to hire a consultant. The consultant will be required to complete a total system assessment.
The assessment will include:
An engineering assessment of all the infrastructure the RDOS is expected to own, operate, and maintain. This will determine required capital costs and additional operating costs.
A financial, liability and asset report will confirm any existing debt, reserves, assets, and potential liabilities.
Staff Capacity Impact Assessment - the RDOS has limited human resources, and this report will outline what staff are required to run this system.
A financial plan(s) will be developed to show the expected costs for the RDOS (paid for by the system users) to operate and maintain the system.
A transition plan, if necessary.
The assessment work should be complete by late 2023 when the information will be shared via a comprehensive public engagement process. Between now and late 2023, there won't be much to report or share with citizens. The consultants will need time to complete their work. The RD will require time to review the work and develop recommendations for the public.
I will share updates here until the RDOS sets up a project page on Regional Connections. Link to the RDOS's Water and Sewer Utility Acquisition Policy (if you like policies). This is a great policy and won an Excellence in Governance award last year at UBCM.
If you have questions or comments, please let me know.
Thank you to the utility owners, RDOS staff, and my predecessor Michael Brydon - this has been a long time coming, and it is exciting to get to this stage.