Pearl Harrison

Pearl Harrison

North side Vanderhoof residents raise concerns about water rate increase

Residents on the north side of the Nechako river may see water rate increases of 23.52 per cent this year pending approval from the BC Water Management Branch.

Residents on the north side of the Nechako river may see water rate increases of 23.52 per cent this year pending approval from the BC Water Management Branch.

An application was made by Northside Water Services in January this year to increase monthly user fees primarily so that the private business could hire a second qualified operator.

The proposed increase would fund the training and certification of a second operator and would also provide funds for the future replacement of system components.

The application has passed the preliminary review stage and effected residents were sent a notice in the post last month informing them of the application. If approved the increase will take effect from the beginning of July 2011.

Residents had a window of 30 days to submit any objections, complaints or questions to the Deputy Comptroller of Water Rights about the application. The deadline for submissions was August 8.

Pearl Harrison, who runs the Omineca Mobile Home Park on Northside Road, says she isn’t happy at all with the proposed increase.

“Well I can’t afford it – it’s just too much.

“I’m being held at ransom as it is,” she said.

The Omineca Mobile Home Park has 36 units which are all owner-occupied. The proposed percentage increase for mobile homes and apartments will increase water rates  from $34 per month to $42 per month. At the moment, Harrison charges occupants a total of $240 per month for water, sewer, garbage pick up and snow removal.

“My tenants can’t afford it – I’ve got a lot of seniors in the park and they’re on limited incomes and I try to be a fair landlord,” she said.

In a letter to the BC Water Management Branch, Harrison stated that her current rates are some of the highest in town.

“If my water payments were the same as those mobile home parks served by the village my monthly rental rates would be the same i.e. $215 to $225 per month,” the letter stated.

She added that the 2011 allowable rent increase is 3.2 per cent.

Steve Little, another resident on the north side of the river said he has also sent a letter to the Water Management Branch to object to the proposed increase.

“I’m not too impressed with it – I’ve sent a letter off to the commissioner,” said Little.

“I want someone to justify the costs and so far no one’s done that.

“We’re being charged before they have hired someone and this is about our tenth water increase since I’ve been over here – why does it cost double than the downtown rates?” he said.

Northside Water Services has been owned and run by the Manwaring family for the last 40 years.

At the moment Greg Manwaring is the only full time operator of the utility. Greg’s wife Elvira says they would like to hire their son Wes as the second full-time operator. She says Wes has already been helping to operate the business for the last couple of years.

“In the last couple of years we have paid out of our own pocket for that,” she said.

She added that new rules and regulations coming down from the government means that their son has to become certified.

“The letter that was sent to each and every one of our customers mentioned the reasons why we were doing the increase … it was because of all these certifications.

“It used to be you just went over there and looked at the system and do the fixing that you needed to do, but in the last six or seven years all that has changed,” she said.

“Both Greg and I realized too we are getting older and just for one person to be running a utility is just ridiculous … you need down time and you need help when you’re working in the ditches and whatever else.

“Water is just becoming more expensive to operate,” she added.

The increased rate, if approved, will also provide extra funds for a replacement reserve fund for the future replacement of components.

“12 per cent of our gross revenue goes into the replacement reserve fund,” said Elvira.

Northside Water Services say that in their initial application they requested that the payment increase be introduced over a four year period to make it easier on their customers but that the Water Management Branch said this was not possible.

“We actually didn’t want to do the increase all in one year we had asked the ministry to do it over a four year period and for whatever reason they said no they wouldn’t allow it this time,” said Elvira.

Rick Couroux, Secretary to the Comptroller of Water Rights with the Water Management Branch said he has been informed by a financial advisor at the branch that rates needed to go up immediately in order to have enough money going into the replacement reserve fund.

He added that to date, the branch have received four formal letters from residents about the proposed increase.

“If anyone has raised any significant questions or concerns in these letters, we will have the utility address those,” said Couroux.

 

He added that the final decision should be made within a month.

 

 

Just Posted

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Local youth vaccination clinics underway

Pfizer vaccine will be used

Priya Sharma. (Submitted)
Column: Why ultimatums don’t work

By Priya Sharma It is a common misconception that people can choose… Continue reading

People had a chance to interact with different animals at the petting zoo, participate in mutton busting, and buy everything local during the Fall Fair held in 2019. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
55th Fall Fair in Vanderhoof cancelled

Alternative events eyed once again

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Most Read