Sewer rate philosophy up for debate


Quantity option doesn’t sit well with some of council

Coun. Hazel Braithwaite

Coun. Hazel Braithwaite

Despite a negligible rise in water and sewer rates for Oak Bay in 2017, a conversation about philosophy is long overdue, says Coun. Hazel Braithwaite.

Water and sewer together will cost the average user $3.17 more next year, with the bulk of the cost increase coming from the Capital Regional District sewer rate. The CRD jumps 28.5 per cent while the Oak Bay side rises .05 per cent. For water Oak Bay is up 0.75 per cent and the CRD up 0.5 per cent.

Sewer rate is collected based on 70 per cent user charge, the quantity of water used by a property, with the other 30 per cent through taxes.

“I just don’t agree that we should do it this way,” said Braithwaite, who didn’t support the first two readings of the bylaw to implement the 2017 rates. “The bottom line is basically it ends up being unfair to a larger family who uses more water. They’re paying for their water no matter what, it’s not that they’re getting more service.”

Residents with higher volume water usage pay more.

“For me it doesn’t work because its unfair. It puts an unfair burden on a larger family who perhaps has to do laundry numerous times a day and they’re going to pay more than a family who is away for six months out of the year. For the sewer it’s really the same service they’re using, it’s the same infrastructure, the infrastructure is there, whether they use it or not.”

Braithwaite voted in support during the final approval Friday afternoon only out of fairness, with a number of those who supported the bylaw through first two readings not in attendance. Water and sewer rates must be implemented by Jan. 1 for the billing cycle.

She’s also confident this will be the year council revisits the formula.

“That water is gong to out the same pipe as a family of two,” Braithwaite said.

“There are enough of us now looking at it that we’ll get a staff report at estimates and have a look at it,” Braithwaite said.

During second reading of the bylaw Coun. Kevin Murdoch also opposed, citing some concern as year over year the CRD costs will rise.

Mayor Nils Jensen noted it was a “matter of philosophy” and perhaps time to revisit. It was something Braithwaite hoped to look at in 2016, but staff are confident they’ll have a report with options available for council during estimates meetings set for March 15, April 12 and April 19 at 5:30 p.m.

The bylaw to set water and sewer rates came alongside a provisional budget, offering “broad strokes” of where the estimates conversation will begin in the spring.

Total expenditures in 2017 are budgeted to increase by $4,105,203, largely due to capital projects including the Uplands sewage separation project, which is being funded by a reserve. Increases in other expenses are primarily due to increases in labour costs, contracting and consulting costs.

The net effect is 4.16 per cent increase in the municipal property tax levy. The effect on average individual property depends on several factors. For example, to the extent that the 2017 assessment roll includes new construction added to the tax base in 2016, the typical increase for the individual property owner will be less than 4.16 per cent.

 

Just Posted

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The Victoria woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Anita Troop officially turns 100 on Sunday and cards are pouring in from around the world. (Courtesy Marina Miller)
Cards roll in from around the world for West Shore 100 year old

About 100 cards have come for the woman who turns 100 on Sunday

A cardboard man bearing Queen Elizabeth II’s royal cipher has been placed in a window at the Royal Theatre for at least several days. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)
Mysterious cardboard figure appears in Victoria’s Royal Theatre window

The identity of the figure, which was moved there amid cleaning, remains unknown

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in Saanich parkland

The birds don’t often touch down in the south of the Island

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
B.C. couple donating $500 to every Grade 12 student in the Okanagan

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

Rita Coolidge played the main stage at Vancouver Island Musicfest in 2017. (Black Press file photo)
This year’s Vancouver Island MusicFest to virtually showcase beauty of Comox Valley

Returning July 9 through 11 with more than 25 hours of music performances

British Columbia’s premier says he’s received a second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. (Twitter/John Horgan)
B.C. premier gets 2nd dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

John Horgan shared a photo of himself on social media Friday afternoon holding a completed vaccination card

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Most Read