Water rate rethink a sign of poor salesmanship
By Fred Sherwin
that the city is going back to the drawing board to come
up with another option, or options, to appease rural residents
upset at the fact that they might have to pay for stormwater
infrastructure is entirely representative of the poor
job the city has done in explaining the changes to the
they should have realized from Day 1 that asking rural
residents to pay for stormwater infrastructure would be
a hugely contentious issue. Which is why it should have
been explained to them in as clear a manner as possible.
the first public meeting I went to it was an afterthought,
even though 44 of the 47 people in the room at the Bob
MacQuarrie Recreation Centre were from the country.
crazy thing is that it can be easily explained in a few
paragraphs. First of all, there are hundreds of kilometres
of drainage ditches, hundreds of culverts and a couple
of dozen stormwater ponds that serve the rural community
and it costs roughly $8 million a year to maintain them.
until now, that cost has covered exclusively by the citys
urban and suburban residents on their bi-monthly water
and sewer bills. In other words rural residents currently
dont pay a penny for the maintainance of rural culverts,
stormwater ponds, or drainage ditches.
wasnt always that way, however. Prior to amalgamation
rural residents did pay for rural stormwater management
infrastructure to the tune of $120 to $180 year depending
on the municipality. That all changed in 2001 when the
newly-amalgamated City of Ottawa took the charge off the
rural tax bills and placed it on the urban and suburban
water bills at the suggestion of the amalgamation transition
end result is that the citys urban and suburban
residents have paying for rural stormwater infrastructure
for the past 15 years and rural residents have gotten
off scott free.
perfect example of this is the massive culvert that was
recently replaced in Navan at cost of more than $150,000.
city has done a less than stellar job in trying to explain
these facts to rural residents. If theres confusion,
they have only themselves to blame.
11:30 a.m., April 20)
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