LITTLE CURRENT—Residents of Little Current and Sheguiandah will see an increase to water rates of four percent on their next quarterly bill.
Northeast Town council passed a resolution at its March 21 meeting to raise the rates across the board. In Little Current, whose residents are charged for both water and sewer, this will mean an additional $15.84 a year and in Sheguiandah, users will pay $46.90 a year more for water only. Quarterly, this translates to $103 for Little Current residents and $305 for Sheguiandah residents.
Little Current residents will also see an additional charge for their sewer rates, bringing their yearly total increase for both water and sewer to just over $60 a year.
Northeast Town CAO Dave Williamson explained the reason behind the rise in rates are an increase in costs associated with operation (the Ontario Clean Water Agency, which oversees the operation of the two plants); hydro costs; and the fact that both the Little Current and Sheguiandah plants are in need of new infrastructure. The additional charge for sewer usage in Little Current is due to a much-needed lagoon expansion.
“We need to move forward with this project,” the CAO advised council. “That means the money has to come from the users of the sewer system.”
There is currently $238,000 in the Little Current water treatment plant/sewer reserves, the CAO continued, noting that the engineering alone will come in around $200,000.
“We need to deal with this in a practical way,” Mr. Williamson added.
Councillor Erskine asked about the life expectancy of the Little Current water treatment plant. Mr. Williamson responded by saying that within the next three to four years, the plant will be in need of a “substantial overhaul.”
Councillor Dawn Orr asked the same question of the Sheguiandah water treatment plant. Mr. Williamson said it will also be looking at an overhaul within the same time frame, noting that the Sheguiandah plant, however, does use a different system than Little Current’s plant and that the maintenance costs will be substantially less than Little Current’s.
2017 capital projects for the plants will mean also mean an expense of $43,775 for the Little Current plant and for Sheguiandah, $62,800.
The resolution to raise the water and sewer rates to four percent was moved by Councillor Erskine and seconded by Councillor Marcel Gauthier. All were in favour with the exception of Councillor Melissa Peters, who said the numbers were too low.
“This should have been worked on a long time ago,” she said.