Water rate hike on tap
Customers who rarely turn on the tap will start paying more for water.
Greater Vernon water rates are climbing three per cent across the board, including for those who only use up to 20 cubic metres. Previously they paid no consumption fee.
“I know we need the money but these are the people who use the least amount of water,” said director Bob Spiers, who opposed the 2013 utility budget.
However, Regional District of North Okanagan staff defend placing a fee on low consumption.
“There’s a cost to maintain the service, whether people use it or not,” said Dale McTaggart, engineering general manager.
“Water mains break and there is a need for a water treatment plant.”
Support came from director Jim Garlick.
“Whether you use zero water, there is a cost to bring the water to the house. You have access to the service,” he said.
Much of the money will go towards aging infrastructure.
“The reason we’re in this situation is B.C. is unique in North America,” said director Rob Sawatzky.
“We’re addressing a situation other jurisdictions addressed years ago and we’re having to catch up.”
Six businesses, including golf courses and nurseries, will see the rate for irrigation water climb 50 per cent.
“We want to bring them up so they eventually pay the commercial rate,” said McTaggart.