There’s a difference between my single-family dwelling in Coldstream with two occupants and the same water bill in Kelowna.
We used 128 cubic metres of water in June, July and August 2014, which included prudent lawn watering.
So Vernon/Coldstream was $302.50 versus Kelowna at $96.59, about triple the price.
My neighbour on a fixed-income does not water the lawn but has a good sized garden to offset his food bill. He used 193 cubic metres at a cost of $442.25 for water. That’s some encouragement to grow locally and provide for his family.
Let’s look at the rates from another perspective.
Assuming there are 60,000 people living in Greater Vernon and there is an average of three people per household, that equates to 20,000 households. Assume as your average water user, I paid about $232, therefore a saving of $463. Now multiply this by 20,000 households which equals $9,260,000.
That’s enough to pay off the new track, enough over the next three years to build and pay for a new arena, art gallery and museum, etc.
Surely, our local government should look into this matter seriously and find a way to bring water rates down. Otherwise, who will be able to afford to vote on future referendums?
How much money can this community afford as water rates have gone up 65 per cent in the past four years (2012-2015) while the cost of living has gone up 5.4 per cent, with another rate increase proposed for 2016.
When will we start running Greater Vernon on a business basis?
We need vision and leadership to tackle the fact that there are about $200 million in future projects required in our community over the next several years.
Taxpayers are already maxed out, especially with these high water rates.
Hopefully this is an eye-opener to our Greater Vernon elected officials to put together a comprehensive, affordable business plan in order to save the future of this community.