Comox Valley rural residents propose water-use rate structure

A group of Area B residents have proposed a rate structure for water use in rural areas.

A group of Area B residents have proposed a rate structure for water use in rural areas, which they say will compare favourably to Courtenay and Comox while meeting financial and conservation goals of the regional district.

Appearing at Monday’s Electoral Area Services Committee meeting, the group suggests residents in Areas B and C who use a minimum amount of 180 cubic metres of water pay the ‘Comox rate’ of $327 per year. Those exceeding the minimum allowance to a maximum of 800m3 pay the ‘Courtenay rate’ of $440 per year. The group also proposes surcharging $1.24 per cubic metre to those who use more than 800m3 to discourage excessive water consumption.

“Why are we paying so much for water?” Dave Mellin said. “Why are we at $435 with another rate increase? We feel it needs to be fair to everyone.”

The CVRD’s mock billing program for water meters is nearing an end. Five mock bills were to be mailed, the last one in September. The purpose of the project is to decrease consumption and to improve the chances of obtaining government grants and water licenses, among other benefits. The CVRD implemented the program in the Arden, England Road, Greaves Crescent, Marsden/Camco and other water local service areas in late-2011 when the water metering project was completed.

Mellin’s mock water bill shows a $750 charge.

“We enjoy our properties and work hard to make them attractive,” said Tim Rabbitt, noting rural yards and gardens require a certain amount of water.

Phil Harrison said Comox and Courtenay each “use a lot of water,” but senior manager of engineering services Marc Rutten said rates cannot be standardized across the Valley because jurisdictions operate separate water systems and determine their own costs.

The committee approved the following recommendations for residential that will appear before the CVRD board for adoption Oct. 29:

• $22.17 flat monthly fee up to 15 cubic meters per month;

• Tier1 charge of 64 cents per cubic metre over 15 m3 up to 45 m3 per month;

• Tier 2 charge of 79 cents per cubic metre over 45 m3 per month. This amount has decreased from 95 cents per cubic metre, with which residents had taken issue.

In a recent interview, Rutten said only 50 or 100 of 1,500 district residents would receive a yearly bill of $800 or $900. The lowest consumers of water, on the other hand, would pay less than $250 per year.

According to the mock bill program, 900 residents were below the Tier 1 line and 1,400 below the Tier 2 line in winter. In spring and fall, 750 moved into Tier 1 and 350 into Tier 2.

About 1,000 households will pay the same or less for water under a metered billing system than with the current flat rate system, according to the district. About 300 households will pay the base amount of $266.04 per year, which provides a savings over the $435 flat fee currently in place.

“We do what benefits most people,” said Area C director Edwin Grieve, who suggests the CVRD could look brilliant six years from now.

If the board adopts the above recommendations, residents will receive their first bill with the new rates in December.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cumberland Brewery is looking to expand its patio space temporarily for the summer. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland Brewery looks for temporary patio expansion

Move would allow business to spread customers outside in summer months

School District 71’s final budget for this school year showed more revenue from distance learning students but less from traditional classroom registration. Record file photo
Comox Valley Schools’ budget grant almost $5.5 million higher than planned

Increase came from a boost in distributed learning rather traditional registration

A&W on Ryan Road confirmed a positive case of COVID-19 at their restaurant and temporarily shut its doors. Google Maps photo
Courtenay restaurant temporarily closed due to COVID-19 exposure

It’s the latest business in the Valley to be affected by the virus

The CSRHD board moved closer to passing a budget with a $4.4 million cut to the tax requisition. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Comox Strathcona hospital district moves on budget with tax cut

At $12.6 million, budget requisition represents drop of $4.4 million for current year

Courtenay councillor Will Cole-Hamilton, standing at right, sits on steering committees of two organizations that are tackling the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. File photo
Courtenay councillor leads campaign to reduce building-sector GHG emissions

Courtenay councillor Will Cole-Hamilton wants local governments to carry a little more… Continue reading

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

After nearly 10 months of investigations, Mounties have made an arrest in the tripping of an elderly woman in Burnaby this past April. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Mounties charge suspect for tripping elderly woman near Metrotown in April

32-year-old Hayun Song is accused of causing bodily harm to an 84-year-old using her walker

British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives to view the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Death threats mount against Dr. Bonnie Henry, sparking condemnation from Horgan, Dix

Henry has become a staple on televisions in homes across British Columbia since January 2020

Several BC Ferries sailings are cancelled Friday due to adverse weather. (Black Press Media File)
All B.C. Ferries sailings cancelled due to winds, adverse weather

Adverse weather causes cancellations across several BC Ferries routes

Bryan Adams with his mom, Jane Adams Clark, at Lions Gate Hospital. (Bryan Adams)
Bryan Adams gives shout out to North Shore hospital

The singer’s mom was in Lions Gate Hospital for care

Most Read