QC water rates to double, as council wants referendum and to borrow $900,000

  • Apr. 9, 2008 3:00 p.m.

By Heather Ramsay–Queen Charlotte water users could soon be paying double the what they are now, after council decided it wants to borrow up to 900,000. The cash is needed to place the new water system’s intake above an old garbage dump, a move most community members demanded last fall. But under the Community Charter (the provincial legislation that governs municipalities), council must receive permission to borrow, either from the entire electorate or from those who will be directly affected by the loan (ie. the property owners). This means either a referendum for those living in the water service area, or a petition from property owners (see separate story).All options were looked at, and at Monday’s meeting, councillors voted to hold a referendum, meaning all qualified voters who use village water will be able to vote. But timing is a major issue, and a problem. Mayor Carol Kulesha told the concerned citizens who packed council chambers that holding a referendum may take three to four months. Work in the Honna River, where the intake will be placed, can only be done in a short summer ‘window’ set by Fisheries and Oceans, she said. “We may very well miss the fisheries window,” Ms Kulesha said. Queen Charlotte resident Lea Olsen asked why has it taken so long for this to come to the public’s attention. Council has known about the need for a borrowing bylaw since last fall, she said. “Why all of a sudden a last ditch effort?” she asked. Mayor Kulesha said attempts to find other funding for the project, as well as redoing studies needed now the intake is to be moved, delayed things. She also said each option had to be researched, which also took time. Village staff has been working on a $400,000 application to Towns for Tomorrow, a provincial fund directed at communities with a population under 5,000. It’s not clear that the village will receive any of this money, as the program has more applicants than money.The $900,000 loan, if approved by residents, will be for a 20-year term. At 5 percent interest, it will cost villagers a total of $1,500,000. With less than 400 water users, Mayor Kulesha said water rates would rise from $15.90 to $31.65 a month, or from about $190 to $380 per year. The date for the referendum has not been set, and if it turns out the fisheries window cannot be met this year, it will likely be held along with the municipal election in November.

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

Just Posted

Salmon closures announced for Skeena and Nass watersheds

DFO notice expands on May 21 chinook ban throughout Skeena watershed

VIDEO: Green Coast offers free kayaking to Haida Gwaii residents

First “pop-up paddle” held Monday, May 25; free community paddles expected to continue weekly

DFO allowing at-sea observers again if safe work procedures in place

May 15 fishery notice lays out conditions for allowing at-sea observers onboard amid COVID-19

Artist-biologist duo that contributed to conservation on Haida Gwaii wins award

Aleta Karstad, Dr. Fred Schueler win prize for conservation efforts, including Cumshewa Head area

CHN, province reach ‘milestone’ tree cutting agreement, reducing annual cut by 13%

Haida Gwaii Management Council has determined new allowable annual cut of 804,000 cubic metres

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

B.C. drive-in theatre shuts down to await appeal of car limits, concession rules

Business owner Jay Daulat voluntarily closed down the theatre awaiting a health ministry decision

Most Read