No consultant to explain mock water bills in Cumberland

Cumberland council voted Monday against spending $7,500 to hire a consultant to help the community understand mock water bills.

Cumberland council voted Monday against spending $7,500 to hire a communication consultant to help the community understand mock water bills.

The first mock bill — designed to give customers an idea of what they would pay with new volumetric (consumption-based) water rates — is set to come out in August and will be based off April to June meter readings. Council set the rates for the mock bills in June.

These rates are unofficial, and council is expected to make a final decision on water rates near the end of this year. One more mock bill is set to come out this fall.

Village staff recommended hiring a consultant, using Community Works Funds, to help the Village communicate with users as the mock bills are rolled out. Village CAO Sundance Topham noted that the person would develop a comprehensive communication plan, including informational material that would go out with the mock bills and a survey so council would have feedback before making its final decision on water rates later this year.

He added time is an issue for Village staff, and, noting community confusion around the organics program as an example, he said staff would like to learn how to better communicate with residents.

Coun. Roger Kishi made a motion to spend $7,500 on a communication consultant, and though Mayor Leslie Baird and he voted in favour of it, the motion was defeated as Couns. Kate Greening and Conner Copeman voted against. Coun. Gwyn Sproule was absent.

Kishi said he is concerned the “process will be fraught with difficulties” without comprehensive communication around not only mock bills, but also the entire water rate plan for the Village.

Baird agreed, noting staff are “overloaded” with work now. She added no matter what decision council makes on rates later in the year, she wants to ensure the community understands the issue, and that council can receive adequate feedback from the community before it makes that decision.

Greening said the process is “rushed.” She wants to send out mock water bills for one year instead of for two quarters, and hold off on making a decision about water rates.

Copeman said he is “uneasy” with spending $7,500 on a consultant for different reasons than Greening. He said most people know about the matter already, and those who don’t likely wouldn’t pay more attention with extra communication than they would when they receive their mock bills.

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Humpback whale plays with a log near Comox Harbour

On Dec. 2, Lifeforce Ocean Friends found a four-year-old humpback named “Lorax”… Continue reading

Seasonal favourite comes to the Sid Williams Theatre

Many of us can remember a favourite Christmas gift - what is… Continue reading

Unity Comox Valley hosts serenity service in Comox Thursday

Do you have mixed feelings about the holidays? Unity offers a special… Continue reading

UPDATE: RCMP involved in crash south of Courtenay Saturday night

An RCMP member was involved in a three-vehicle collision on Highway 19… Continue reading

Mental health advocate’s journey with dissociative identity disorder sparks conversation

Coast Mental Health Courage to Come Back Awards nomination deadline Jan. 31

Ice wins home tournament

The Isfeld Ice senior boys basketball team won its annual invitational tournament… Continue reading

B.C. lumber industry trade mission still has high hopes for China

Forests Minister Doug Donaldson cut short trip after Japan, Korea stops

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Omar Khadr to ask for Canadian passport to travel, permission to speak to sister

He spent years in U.S. detention at Guantanamo Bay after he was caught when he was 15

One of Tori Stafford’s killers transferred to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Military closes book on oft-criticized support unit for ill, injured troops

The transition unit will provide support and services to military members struggling with physical and mental injuries so they can return to work.

Vancouver Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson named NHL’s first star of the week

Canucks centre scored two goals and six assists in three games

Protester says Canada doing U.S. ‘dirty work’ outside Huawei exec’s bail hearing

The U.S. wants to extradite Meng to face fraud allegations after Canada arrested the high-profile technology executive.

Most Read