A lengthy discussion has led to a decision for the town of Bashaw’s water prices and practices at their regular meeting on Thurs. Feb. 6.
Effective immediately the base charge will be rising to $30 and consumption rates at $3.47 per cubic metre.
The town estimated total annual consumption of 72,000 cubic metres which is bought from the Highway 12/21 Water Commission.
The vote passed four to one reluctantly as all the councillors felt the increase was not great but more of the lesser of two evils when approaching the subject.
“If you’re using the water you should pay for it and I think that is just another way of subsidizing a person that is using more water,” said Coun. Lynn Schultz who opposed the raise in base charge.
With this, approximately 16 water meters per year over a five-year span will be replaced to further diminish unaccounted for water.
Eighty older meters will be replaced by the end of 2025 at $450 per metre.
Council felt this would be a manageable timeframe.
This will eventually be turned into a functioning bylaw that helps the town with certain issues but first will be made by the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and their law firm to make it legally sound.
The original bylaw was based around well water so the town has been faced with a few challenges like absorbing costs that they shouldn’t be.
“We are running into situation after situation where more and more we need to get a tighter control on water consumption because every drop that goes through we are having to pay for it,” said CAO Theresa Fuller.
“So having a bylaw that is legally sound is going to serve you.”
“We as a town have to pay one way or another. It’s a matter of divvying up that cost fairly,” said Coun. Rob McDonald.
If a bad installation of pipes is present, councillors and staff agreed the town should pay for the replacement or fixes.
As for frozen pipes, Public Works Foreman Murray Holroyd suggested they be added in as a capital project in the budget to start building reserves which will be used to tackle these problems.
Delinquent bills have increased in number so CAO Fuller felt it was enough to be concerned with.
Council agreed to roll delinquent bills into taxes after a certain time frame.
Dep. Mayor Rosella Peterman mentioned the rough condition of some sidewalks within Bashaw and the abuse the concrete can take when the ice is being removed.
She noted that when she lived in Edmonton, they used sandboxes which were available to the public so they could put it on their sidewalks.
She asked if Bashaw could do the same.
Foreman Holroyd said it is already available upon request but cautioned that there was not much left in stock at the moment.
The problem with leaving a box outside was that it has a high moisture content so it will freeze immediately.
Coun. McDonald suggested, “You can get sandbags at the gas station for dirt cheap.”
After a closer look at a few bylaws, administration found Bylaw 652-01 to be redundant and no longer necessary to have as others cover everything it entails.
Council passed a motion to rescind the bylaw and with it, the establishment of an intermunicipal subdivision appeal board.
The new bylaw and agreement address the current legislation in place and can provide service if required.
The intermunicipal board will still be in effect under this new bylaw.
By having an intermunicipal board, it is designed to enable greater transparency as it is an external board separate from the town.