Northeast Town water users can expect a four percent increase in rates

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NORTHEAST TOWN – Northeast Town CAO Dave Williamson presented the proposed water and sewer rates for 2021 at the March 2 meeting of council, with a public meeting set for March 30.

Residents of Little Current can expect to see a four percent increase in their water rates, an annual increase of $18.53 (from $463.37 to $481.90), or $4.63 per billing quarter.

The Little Current water treatment plant will see some significant capital projects this year, including the replacement of the plant filters to the tune of approximately $550,000. Earlier this year, the municipality was warned by the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA), which oversees the day-to-day maintenance of the two water treatment plants, that the filters may not last through next winter. The funds to cover the substantial cost will come from the Little Current water reserves, which would draw it down to $967,000.

The total amount of the Little Current capital projects (numbered at 12), including the filter replacement, comes in at $613,714.

Little Current water users will also see a raise in their sewer rates of $134 per year (from $348 to $482). This is due to the multi-million lagoon expansion project that wrapped up this fall and which saw the municipality take out a loan of $553,077.94 to help cover costs. Mr. Williamson explained that as this is a user-pay system, Ward 2 residents will be billed accordingly. The total amount of capital projects for the Little Current sewer system is $135,000.

Councillor Barb Baker suggested council look at alternative, less costly, filtration systems, such as sand filtration which is currently utilized in Sheguiandah.

In the village of Sheguiandah, home of some of the costliest water rates on the Island, residents can also expect a four percent hit to their water bills, an annual increase of $54.87 (from $1,371.77 to $1,426.64).

There are seven items on the Sheguiandah plant capital projects list for 2021, totaling $28,241.

Sheguiandah Councillor Jim Ferguson asked Mr. Williamson for the reasoning behind a four percent increase to Sheguiandah water users. Mr. Williamson explained that the four percent would cover OCWA’s operating costs and reminded council of the small number of users on the Sheguiandah system, which in turn means higher user fees.

A public meeting on the water and sewer rates for 2021 will be held, via Zoom, on Tuesday, March 30 at 7 pm.