Bashaw council will uphold a $220.50 bill sent to a resident over a frozen water line after the resident objected to being charged for the situation.
The decision was made at the March 4 regular meeting of council which was streamed via Zoom to meet pandemic rules.
Town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Theresa Fuller presented council with a letter from a resident who had a water line freeze during the recent cold snap, and was unhappy the Town of Bashaw billed the resident for the staff time involved.
“On the morning of Feb. 12 I had no water,” stated the handwritten letter which had the name and address removed. “There was water at 1:30 a.m.
“I called the town and alerted them of the problem at approximately 9 a.m. I removed the door to access the water meter, the water meter was solid with ice. I checked the trickle flow, no water.
“The town did not have equipment to melt the ice in a short period of time, period.’
The letter stated the resident then hired Dennick Enterprises to thaw ice in three hours at $100 per hour which was paid by the resident. The meter was changed by the town staff.
The resident stated the heat tape on the water meter was working and the last time the water meter was replaced was 2001.
The resident claimed the problem was caused by the town’s placement of the water meter.
“The grievance I have is the town installed meter at a ridiculous place initially,” stated the resident, “which should never be installed under the trailer.”
The resident was unhappy with the $220.50 bill received from the Town of Bashaw.
The CAO noted the resident was not billed for a new water meter as the meter in question was scheduled for replacement anyway, but the resident was billed for the public works staff time.
Fuller stated in her report the meter was leaking but the water meter was located on the resident’s property, in the crawl space underneath a mobile home and according to provincial legislation and the town bylaw residents are responsible for monitoring water meters on private property, including underneath mobile homes.
Coun. Lynn Schultz stated homeowners should be checking their meters in cold weather.
“To me it seems pretty clear cut,” said agreed Coun. Rosella Peterman. “I have no problem with the rescue, but there is a cost.”
Public Works Foreman Murray Holroyd said that there are a few more water meters installed in a similar manner around Bashaw.
Councillors elected to accept the request for information purposes only.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter