EDITORIAL: Water rates a concern

EDITORIAL: Water rates a concern

At a time when Greater Vernon officials keep insisting that the area is open for business, there is some troubling news.

The owners of Sunshine Laundry Express insist they have had to close their doors because of government policies.

“The water prices are rising astronomically,” said Michael Parent, who launched the laundry with his wife five years ago.

Parent claims quarterly water bills have climbed from an average of $1,500 in 2012 to about $3,000 now.

“We’re going further into the hole every month,” said Parent.

Obviously there are a number of factors that impact a business’ bottom line, but utility costs play a role. And when you are operating a laundry reliant on water, the rate of water is something you closely watch.

Now of course, increased water rates can’t be avoided as Greater Vernon’s utility needs to replacing aging infrastructure as well as meeting evolving water quality standards enacted by government agencies. All of these come with a price.

On top of this, the utility must contend with higher expenses itself, such as electricity to run treatment plants and labour.

Greater Vernon Advisory Committee officials weren’t aware of Parent’s challenges but they insist they will investigate.

And that should only be the first step. GVAC needs to always consider how utility rates impact all businesses and particularly high-use users of water, whether it’s a laundry, car wash, brewery or golf course.

In the end, money is required to maintain critical infrastructure but businesses shouldn’t be left struggling.