Courtenay council approved a proposed five-year water plan that proposes no increase in 2014 for the regional and municipal portion of the water system.
However, customers will see a slight increase in 2014 water rates based on billing of last year. The increase for a single family unit will be $5.
The regional bulk water rate is forecast to remain the same for 2014 and 2015.
Despite growth and a dry 2013, Courtenay ended the year with water consumption that is 6.3 per cent less than bulk consumption in 2012.
Coun. Manno Theos congratulates water users for stepping up to reduce usage.
The City believes water enforcement and commercial toilet rebates are among the programs that contributed to the reduction. Replacing older meters has also helped to identify leaks.
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Council approved a request from Ronna-Rae Leonard to fly a gay pride flag at City Hall for the remainder of the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi, Russia.
The host country has been criticized for its anti-gay laws. Leonard finds it difficult to imagine it was not intentional to roll out legislation that promotes hatred against the gay community when Russia is at the centre of the international stage.
“An attack on fundamental human rights demands action. When that attack comes on a global level, it demands a global voice to stand up for those who are targeted,” Leonard said.
“I think in taking this action we’re in good company,” said Coun. Doug Hillian, noting similar actions in Toronto, Montreal and other Canadian cities.
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Residents in single-family units will pay $24 a year if council approves a sewer fund proposal from 2014-2018. It calls for a 12-per-cent user fee increase this year to fund the regional portion of the sewer system. No increase is needed to fund the municipal portion.
Coun. Jon Ambler feels it is reasonable to request $2 per month to fund a “vital” service.
While 12 per cent is a “tough pill to swallow,” Coun. Starr Winchester concurs sewer is a vital, core service.
Priority projects this year include Headquarters Road sewer replacement ($900,000); extending sewer into Glacier Road ($10,000); sewer line repair at First Avenue and Morrison Creek ($155,000); and lift stations at First and at Anderton Road ($185,000).
The Headquarters Road project is estimated to cost $1.8 million over the next two years.