CRD considers building permit changes

Septic installations may once again be required on permits

Cariboo Regional District (CRD) directors have told staff to investigate potential changes to add septic approvals back onto building permit applications.

Area L Director Bruce Rattray put forward the motion at its Dec. 14 meeting after residents raised concerns about a major renovation underway at a neighbour’s aging, lakefront dwelling.

The renovation had expanded the building size and occupancy, he says, but didn’t require any septic approvals.

“[With] an old septic system there, they were concerned it may not be able to handle it.”

While Rattray says he believes that particular property owner will voluntarily install a new system, the director explains it brought the issue to light.

The requirement for approved septic system installations was removed from the CRD’s building permit application several years ago, Rattray notes, party due to the prerequisite slowing down the process.

He says the regional districts don’t have responsibility to inspect or approve septic systems anyway, so the board had determined it wasn’t necessary.

Rattray adds this all happened around the time when the province withdrew the Ministry of Health from inspecting septic systems and privatized that responsibility, with third parties certifying the septic installers to perform approvals on their own work.

“[Another reason was] this perception that now that the province had withdrawn, the only government agency involved seemed to be the local government. It almost seemed like it was a quasi-downloading.”

Combined with a lack of certified contractors available back then, it seemed to be adding unnecessary and significant delays to the construction processes, which meant “everybody was getting ticked off.”

“The board agreed on [Dec. 14] that staff will delve into the issue. And, if it seems to make sense to start doing it again, then we can vote that way, and if the same issues are still there that caused us to pull out of it before, then we may simply decide not to do it again.

“I’m not sure this is going to be a particularly easy one to figure out, but it will come back to the board.”