Water use charges questioned

There are demands for all water users to be billed equally.

Director Gyula Kiss is opposed to the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee charging six businesses a lower rate for water than other businesses and residences.

“Commercial and domestic customers are subsidizing the use of this water,” he said.

“It’s incumbent on us to bring these people up to the appropriate rate and they can pass the cost on to their customers. The domestic user has no place to transfer the cost.”

The six businesses are billed about one-third of the cost the public is levied.

Of the six businesses,  two are golf courses, two are nurseries, one uses water for its cooling system and another is a tourist attraction.

The operations depend on large volumes of water.

“They don’t need treated water,” said Al Cotsworth, utility manager, of why these businesses are billed differently than other merchants or residents.

GVAC has instructed staff to provide information on various classes of water use.

“We need to develop a policy on different uses, look at what we have done before and how do we bring them together,” said director Doug Dirk.

“We need policies on greenhouses, nurseries or golf courses that may come along in the future.”

Director Patrick Nicol hopes the six businesses will be able to provide input if rates increase.

“There’s likely an adverse impact on these businesses that have been operating under certain circumstances,” he said.

There is also the possibility that the City of Vernon’s treatment of effluent could benefit these  businesses.

“We could save our water resource by further expanding it,” he said of the reclaimed water program.