PenderBlog From The Pender Islands Of Canada

January 1, 2008

Here comes lovely Rita…

Filed under: Governance and Legal,Services — Jocko @ 5:26 pm

For those who are property owners in Magic Lake Estates, you should by now be aware of the Household Water Meter Installation project, 2008-2009. A letter sent out to residents on December 10, 2007 from the CRD (Capital Regional District), states that the Magic Lake Estates Water and Sewer Local Services committee (MLE) “has approved a plan to install water meters on each water service by the end of 2009. The decision was made by the committee to fund the project through a parcel tax increase in 2008 and 2009. The parcel tax will increase to $496.57 per property in 2008.”

The decision to proceed with the installations was based on the MLE committee receiving what they claim was “a clear message from residents to move forward with the installation of individual household water meters.”

The water meter project will be separate from a large multi-year project requiring additional funding to be approved by referendum in the fall of 2008 to allow “time for the residents to become informed on all aspects of the program.”

For additional information, contact Ted Robbins, CRD Engineering Technician.

1-800-663-4425 or (250) 360-3175 or email trobbins@crd.bc.ca

Minutes of a recent meeting can be viewed at: September minutes

3 Comments »

  1. The CRD received a ‘clear message’ from WHICH residents? Who in their right mind would want to be billed an extra $250++++ per year (which they don’t have) to have their water metered? Tax increases should be done carefully and when absolutely necessary, not for some pet project of the water agency. Something is rotten in Pen-mark!! Can anyone do anything about this? The average Pender person needs an advocate – the actions of all levels of government are making Pender unaffordable for the average person. It has got to stop.

    Comment by vortexman — January 2, 2008 @ 1:20 pm

  2. I think this water meter thing is a bit of a Boondoggle.
    The meters will be partly financed by an increase of $496.57 in the parcel tax for 2008 and a conveniently unspecified amount in 2009… a ‘temporary’ two year increase. Yah right. I can already smell all the ‘unforeseen’ difficulties and ‘unexpected’ expenses that will occur once the project gets underway. The rest of the money is coming from a stash of cash left over from the last big water system upgrade a few years ago for which we were apparently overcharged… and contingency funds, which I thought were supposed to be there for emergency situations.

    The metering project has now been separated from the big project… which still has to be voted on next November. By separating the meter project from the big ‘upgrade’ , the meter project is being pushed through without a public vote or referendum.

    The committee bases their claim of a ‘clear message from residents to move forward with the installation’ based on some input from the 95 property owners who attended the open house last August, which I think is roughly 10% of the property owners in Magic Lake.

    Action on the water meter program should be deferred until next fall when it can be democratically voted on along with the several other upgrades proposed. The only way to determine if the ‘clear message from residents’ is in fact accurate, would be to include a separate question regarding water metering in the referendum.

    Water metering is a complex issue and there are many aspects which need further open discussion before expensive decisions are made. Issues like how is billing going to be done, who is going to read the meters and how often, what will be the cost of all this added bureaucracy, etc. etc.?

    If you have an opinion on this matter… and since a lot of our tax money is at stake, we all should… please voice your concerns to the chair and other members of the Magic Lake Estates Water and Sewer Local Services Committee, Jim Petrie, Chair.

    Comment by Taxed Out — January 2, 2008 @ 4:35 pm

  3. We just bought our property in Magic Lake, though we are no strangers to Pender.
    We didn’t get the memo & this is the first I’ve heard about it.

    There are a few things I am trying to figure out – how is it that this “committee” can arbitrarily impose increases to user fees & parcel taxes. What about the people who paid up-front?

    There seems to be absolutely NO control over this board. They hold meetings in Victoria to “save money” (in that they don’t have to pay a full day’s wages for Gary Hendron & the recording secretary).
    Of course the meetings are “open to the public” – but even if you do go to town – you aren’t allowed to speak or ask questions, what’s the point in going?

    Metering MIGHT be okay…if, and only IF – we weren’t already paying so much for water. Where else in this country to do people pay over $500/year for water?

    Every try to get a break down of expenditures from these people? Doesn’t happen. You can’t get a straight answer out of anyone.
    What about our illustrious “SGI Director” Ms. DeGryp?

    Let’s see – she no longer lives in the SGI, (she moved to Victoria this past summer). Apparently the job is just too much for her as she’s appointed Jim Clelland as her “alternate”

    Clelland – who resigned from the MLE water & sewer committee in 2006 – (last meeting he made was June 13, 2006 – didn’t go to the AGM & in October’s meeting his letter of resignation is discussed in the minutes.

    Now that he’s the “SGI Director Alternate” though – he seems okay with meetings.
    How many meetings has Ms DeGryp herself attended in 2007?
    Let’s see….out of 10 meetings…she’s attended…one. The AGM in September 2007. Why did she even bother? Oh yes, because it would look good to her minions.

    Then there is the matter of MLE water & sewer looking at a “jackpot” with Shaw Cable.

    From the minutes of Nov 15, 2006
    MOVED by Susan DeGryp, SECONDED by Pat Watson that the Magic Lake Estates Water and
    Sewer Local Services committee:
    1. direct staff to prepare a new license of occupation with Pender Island Cable Television Ltd. for a further five year term, at an annual cost of $1,500 for 2006, adjusted yearly by the cost of living index; and
    2. bring the license of occupation back to the committee for approval after an electrical
    inspection by the Safety Branch is conducted.

    …a few months later….

    July 10, 2007

    Lively Peak – License of Occupation for Shaw Cablesystems
    Ted Robbins, CRD Engineering Technician presented the written staff report to seek direction from the committee with respect to renewal of a License of Occupation on Lively Peak, as requested by Shaw Cablesystems.
    A discussion followed regarding the license fee. The committee agreed that the license fee should be increased. Staff were directed to amend paragraph 4 (Use) and e-mail the committee the changes prior to submission to Shaw Cablesystems.
    It was moved and seconded that the Magic Lake Estates Water and Sewer Local Services
    committee approve the License of Occupation after amending the license fee to $10,000 and that a consultant be hired prior to renewal of the agreement, following the proposed two-year term.
    The motion was adopted.

    This is over a 500% increase! What happened to “adjusted yearly by the cost of living index”…? Who is this going to affect? I mean Shaw’s a big company…right?

    Not the point, or maybe it is…MLE water & sewer has just gotten beyond the point of greedy & gone down right nuts!

    Somebody needs to be held accountable – Susan DeGryp for one, MLE water & sewer for another. It’s really time to clean house…or perhaps MLE residents should look at privatization – NOT maintained by the CRD. This is apparently a full-time job for somebody who sees this as “job security”.

    So much for living in a “democratic” society – not on Pender anyway.

    Comment by SD Chadwell — January 8, 2008 @ 11:08 pm

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