Guner-Ellison water rate hike halted

After years of rate hikes, some rural Enderby residents are getting a break when it comes to water

After years of rate hikes, some rural Enderby residents are getting a break when it comes to water.

The Regional District of North Okanagan has decided there won’t be a rate increase for the 11 customers on the Gunter-Ellison water utility in 2014.

“We had a meeting with users and they questioned the need to put a lot of money into reserves for a pipe put in 10 years ago,” said director Jackie Pearase.

“They are saying it’s a financial burden on them.”

The utility has raised rates in recent years, including an average of $25 per customer in 2013.

Pearase believes it’s necessary to look at how the utility operates.

“We want to tweak the costs a bit and look at the overhead,” she said.

“We need to put money into reserves (for future infrastructure) but it’s a question of how much and for how long.”

Pearase points out that like large utilities, such as Greater Vernon, Gunter-Ellison and other small services are being forced by the Interior Health Authority to proceed with costly projects.

“They (IHA) keep raising the bar and the little guys are left asking, ‘How do we pay for it?’” she said.