Water meters could solve complaints in Port

  • Jan. 16, 2009 11:00 a.m.

Port Clements council is hoping that water meters could be the solution to a deluge of complaints about the village’s water rates. Council members spent a long time Monday night (Jan. 12) discussing the water rates bylaw and ways to make it more fair for businesses. Some businesses have complained that they are paying hundreds of dollars a year and not using as much water as some residential customers, who pay a lower rate. Water meters, which measure exactly how much each home and business uses, have been suggested in the past, but administrator Heather Nelson-Smith said they cost up to $800 each and the cost of the device to read the meters is $11,000. These costs would all have to be passed on to the ratepayers somehow, which would cancel out any immediate savings. But council members said putting in meters, at least for Port’s 25 commercial customers, seems to be the only fair way to address the situation. “This issue has been going on for years and it’s not going to go away until we do something more permanent and fair,” said councillor Naureen Hughes-McMullon, who owns a bed and breakfast and pays a monthly rate for each room whether it is occupied or not. “Meters. are the only way it is going to be 100 percent fair.” Other council members agreed, saying meters for the commercial customers only would be a good first step. The issue will be discussed again at the next council meeting, Jan. 19.