West Kelowna council has given initial approval to a plan to hike water rates in the city.
Council gave first three readings to an amendment to its Fees and Charges Bylaw to increase fees for all water utility users due to what the city calls “significant cost pressures.”
The amendment bylaw proposes a 15 per cent increase for the Pritchard, West Kelowna Estates, Sunnyside and Lakeview water systems users and a 10 per cent increase for Westbank water system users.
The increased cost per year to a resident in a single-family home will be:
• $54 for Westbank users
• $58 for Pritchard, West Kelowna Estates and Sunnyside users
• $49 for Lakeview users
The city’s Water Master Plan, adopted in October 2014, shows significant capital requirements for all the water systems in the city.
The Lakeview system requires a $54 million treatment plant and the city has applied for federal infrastructure grant to help pay for it. If successful, the could provide as much as 80 per cent of the cost and help advance construction of the plant by two years.
The need for the treatment plant was illustrated in 2016 when a prolonged water quality advisory was issued due to turbidity in the water in the Rose Valley Reservoir.
A water rate study, nearing completion but now on hold as the West Kelonwa awaits word on the grant application, is expected to propose rates to meet the capital requirements.
In the meantime, council supports increasing rates that have not been increased since July 2015.
The rate increases are proposed to be effective retroactive to as of Jan. 1, 2017.