Thursday April 24, 2014

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Pender water rates rising seven per cent


Water users in both the north and south Pender Harbour service areas will pay seven per cent more next year under a proposed bylaw amendment approved last week by the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) infrastructure services committee.

The proposed increase will boost the annual rate in South Pender by $40 for a single-family residential dwelling and in North Pender by $33.

Staff recommended the increases to fund future capital projects and debt repayment, as well as an expected rise in operating expenses. Last year both service areas saw 10 per cent increases.

In a separate report, staff said the South Pender water treatment plant project was progressing, with the floor slab and walls for the storage reservoir under the plant having been poured, along with the floor that will hold the treatment plant building. The building package was set to arrive this month.

The design and construction of the treatment plant is budgeted at $5.5 million, while the implementation of universal water metering will cost the South Pender system about $1.1 million.

For the North Pender system, improvements to the drain line for the Daniel Point reservoir were also scheduled to start this month. The work is intended to stop water from draining onto private property.

The draft 10-year plan for the North Pender system identifies about $1.8 million in necessary capital upgrades over the next seven years, including universal metering, major mains replacement throughout the system and the purchase of a backup UV treatment unit.

The South Pender system serves about 1,020 parcels and 950 billable users, while North Pender serves about 750 parcels and 500 billable users.

If the proposed rate hikes pass, the total annual water bill will rise to about $624 in South Pender and $501 in North Pender. By comparison, the SCRD’s regional water system will cost users about $481 annually after a proposed 4.7 per cent rate increase next year.

“Regional water does benefit from the economies of scale,” Bryan Shoji, general manager of infrastructure services, told the committee.

Area A director Frank Mauro said he hoped last year’s boil water advisory for South Pender would be the last one.



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