Former Sunsite Estates resident puts water bills in perspective

To the Expositor:

I read with interest the articles about Sunsite Water rates (‘Rates double for Sunsite water users,’ February 5, page 1) and road maintenance on Manitoulin (‘Writer addresses misconceptions about safety,’ February 5, page 4). I would like to share a few thoughts with your readers.

As some of you know I worked for Mutual Life/Clarica/SunLife as an agent from 1972 to 2005 and lived on Manitoulin from 1979 to 2005. These were great times for my family and myself and I am always grateful that God directed me to live and work on Manitoulin Island for so long.

In 1979 I became the first full-time resident of Sunsite Estates and my water bill was $50 per year. Water treatment consisted of dumping jugs of Javex in the water filtration system in the pump house. This was okay in the summer when there were many users but in the winter the water tasted of Javex. Six years later it jumped to $100 per year for another seven years or so. Not bad and today it is $1,700 per year. But this water comes to the user clean and pure and the user is protected now from the horrible things that happened in Walkerton where seven people died.

If I can put this in perspective, we now live in the heart of the Niagara Peninsula with no water treatment plant and no wells. We have a cistern under our garage (13,000 gallons)—we keep 7,000 gallons in the cistern and have a low water warning light. We replace that water every six weeks at a cost of $180 per six weeks or $1,560 per year. Because we have a cistern we had to install a reverse Osmosis filter system for our drinking and cooking water at a cost of $3,500 when we moved in and the replacement filters and service costs us $400 per year. So our total water cost is $1,950 per year and we are only three in the household. I cannot imagine what it costs some of our neighbours with six people in the home.

My point is that whether you are on Manitoulin or in the GTA as we are, water is expensive. Manitouliners at Sunsite as well as we here have to put in and maintain septic systems.

If I had a choice I would like the convenience of the Sunsite system.

And a short word on road maintenance this winter—it is terrible here too.

Cheers to all,

Frank Reynolds