Council to contemplate water discount

Sicamous council has agreed to extend the due date for payment of latest water billing period to October 1.

Sicamous residents can expect to receive a break on water billing.

In the next week or two, residents can expect to receive in the mail their water bills for the period of Jan. 1 to June 30. On the recommendation of staff, Sicamous council has agreed to extend the due date for payment to October 1.

As for the billing period of July 1 to year end, council has something else in mind. Up until Thursday morning, Aug. 2, Sicamous has been under a Do Not Consume order, resulting from the June 23 debris flow. Currently a Boil Water notice is in effect.

The state of Sicamous’ water system, post flooding, prompted resident Nick Verburg to write to council, requesting that there be no charge for water service or usage “for the past six months for a totally unsatisfactory and expensive service.”

Neither staff nor council were willing to let things go free of charge, but they were favourable to offering a discount. Then interim district administrator Doug Ruttan warned that a 10 per cent discount would mean a $20,000 hit to the district’s budget and money put aside for the water treatment facility – 20 per cent would be a $40,000 hit.

Mayor Darrell Trouton was leaning more towards 20 per cent, but warned the district staff would need to look more closely at what impact this would have. District financial services director Ruth Walper noted the district is also starting to be billed for other expenses relating to the water system and damage wrought by the flooding that may or may not be covered by the province. She said  the damaged water line would likely be covered by the municipality’s insurance, though there is still a $25,000 deductible, which is included in the district’s application for disaster financial assistance from the B.C. government.

Council concurred with Coun. Greg Kyllo, who agreed some form of discount is in order, but suggested holding off until the district has had a look at all the costs resulting from flood damage.