The City of Armstrong is hosting a second public open house to explain its new water and sewer rates.
The open house will take place on Saturday, June 23, at the fire hall from 2 to 4 p.m.
The city is updating its water and sewer rates as the existing base rate fee structure “no longer meets current and future needs for maintenance, operation and infrastructure upgrades,” stated on the city’s website.
Accent Property Management Ltd. has written a letter to the city on behalf of the residents of the Meadow Creek Lane strata, expressing dissatisfaction with the proposed new fixed fee structure for water and sewer services.
“The proposed fee structure is asking for too much money over too short a period of time,” said Roy Williams, Accent president. “We feel the proposed increases should be phased in over a longer period of time…”
Mayor Chris Pieper said Armstrong has in excess of 500 strata units, so the update will impact all strata units.
“I encourage all to come to learn about strata billing and utility billing,” said Pieper.
There were mixed feelings at first, but council unanimously agreed to support the proposed creations of a conservation fund through the Regional District of North Okanagan.
The main reason for the support, said Pieper, is conservation is something that involves every community.
“We have creeks that go through every municipality, two (rail) trails now that connect us all,” he said. “We’re supporting people in the community that are volunteers that can access grants and provide expertise that will enhance the whole North Okanagan.
If approved by all member municipalities, the fund would cost taxpayers slightly more than $7 per year.
Armstrong has stipulated with its support that a review or audit of the program be held within a certain time frame, like five years, for example, to see if the program is doing what it’s supposed to.
The city will send a resolution to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) to get local communities more involved in the management of riparian areas in the community.
“Right now we don’t have anything and we have to work together with various ministries to maintain and repair riparian areas and creeks,” said Pieper. “This is a result of flooding we’ve had in Deep Creek and Meighan Creek over the past couple of years.
“They are part of our infrastructure in the City of Armstrong and we have to be able to maintain them in a proper way.”
Pieper said the creeks are being influenced by spring runoff from the material that comes into the city through the Township of Spallumcheen and from Crown lands.
“It’s a cross-jurisdictional problem but it all ends up in Armstrong,” he said.