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Last year for free water meters; majority of homes outfitted

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
March 13th, 2013

This summer could be your last chance to have your water meter installed for free, according to city councillor Kevin Chernoff after a Public Works meeting yesterday.

There are approximately 2027 water meters installed to-date and approximately 840 meters outstanding in the north end of town,” he said. “If you haven’t had your water meter installed you are a minority. This will be the final year for the free installs, so it is highly recommended that you make your booking for install as quickly as possible.”

Those who opt out of the free installation will either have to have a meter installed at their own expense, or pay a disadvantageous flat rate for water.

He said to call Public Works at 250-365-5979 or City Hall at 250-365-7227.

As for why the city opted to move forward with the controversial water meter program, Chernoff said it was ultimately a ‘no-brainer’.

“(Initiating this) has probably gained us access to more than $2 million in grants over the past six years,” he said. “At the time, we were basically told by the province and the feds that, ‘if you’re not going to conserve, you’re not going to get grants’.”

But he added it’s not just an optics issue – the meters are, he said, the responsible move in municipal governance, even setting aside the environmental stewardship mandate facing today’s communities.

“Every litre of water that goes through our pipes, we have to treat. That’s a cost we have to pass on to the taxpayers,” he said. “The less we have to treat, the more we can deliver at a reasonable price to our citizens.”

Don’t be expecting a metered bill any time soon, though – the city still has to gather and examine usage data to calculate prices before taking the final step of incorporating it into city billing systems.

“We’re going to have to evaluate it for a year to see what consumption is at and what the average consumption is to determine our rates.”

Again, the numbers to call to book installation are Public Works at 250-365-5979 or City Hall at 250-365-7227.

Categories: GeneralPolitics

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