White Rock water rates to more than double by 2017

White Rock water rates to more than double by 2017

WHITE ROCK — Water rates in the City by the Sea are set to more than double by 2017 due primarily to the incoming chlorination of the city’s water.

In a presentation to council Monday night, representatives from the city’s water utility operator EPCOR laid out the plans for the next four years, including the chlorination of the city’s water.

The chlorination was ordered by Fraser Health following a boil-water advisory incident in 2010 that found traces of bird droppings in the water. Since then the city and EPCOR have been ordered to introduce chlorination to the local water supply by 2016. The estimated cost of the upgrades is expected to be around $12 million.

According to numbers released by EPCOR Monday, water rates will steadily increase from the current $19.52 per month to $25.29 for 2014, $29.54 in 2015, and $34.85 in 2016 before reaching $39.99 in 2017.

Those numbers were represented on a chart comparing them to nearby municipalities and EPCOR claimed that, even with the 2017 increases, water fees would still be lower than the likes of Richmond and Surrey. However, Mayor Wayne Baldwin pointed out that the number did not include the increase in fire hydrant fees that will be more than doubling in those four years, which are included in other cities’ water fees.

“(The graph) is deceptive in that all other rate changes, they include the fire hydrants as part of the water system,” said Baldwin adding the true cost should be shown. “I don’t think that graph would look as warm and cozy then.”

For White Rock residents, that fire hydrant cost will jump from the current rate of  $369,814 to more than $800,000 in 2017, due to an expected increase in development and maintenance of existing hydrants.

Coupled with the increase to $39.99 a month, residents could be looking at $50 or even $60 a month for water fees in 2017.

As for the city’s effort to purchase the water utility from the Edmonton-based EPCOR, Baldwin said later in the evening those negotiations were still ongoing.