Water meters have been recommended for years in Area D – Letter

LETTERS

The recent article Dated Jan. 27, 2022 from Director Leigh should be raising eyebrows for the Residents of Area D in this election year.

The optics of exploring special water rates for a select group is very troubling. While I am not suggesting any impropriety, it is interesting that you have been exploring preferred water rates for a select group for the past several months while not recognizing that it is a shared water system.

Furthermore, your endorsement of universal water meters to control water costs is at best disingenuous since you have actively resisted universal metering for decades.

I was the first homeowner in Area D that installed a water meter at my cost and I recall the confusing, misleading communications while we explored this option.

We installed a water meter because you, Director Leigh, made comments which were published to the Campbell River Mirror on Jun. 7, 2018: “At the previous meeting, Leigh suggested part of the problem around water use resulted from secondary suites”

As this is an election year let’s keep in mind the following:

1. Water Meters have been recommended for years. Here we are in 2022 and there are still no grants to cover this cost. Other municipalities on Vancouver Island have been able to obtain grants for meters including our neighbors who use the Oyster River Water System.

2. Performing upgrades to the water system should be a given and there should always be ample funds and or grants for those upgrades. After all, those in the Northern Area D Water System do pay $1.00 per $1,000 of property assessment value over and above the actual water billing. Assessment values have been increasing at alarming rates in the past few years and there might even be more money in the water fund than anticipated.

3. Treated safe water is a scarce resource that costs money. This is not just lake water.

4. You duped a group of Area D residents into donating their money to finance your Supreme Court lawsuit against your own Regional District which failed spectacularly. The sad but predictable result was that your taxpayers are now forced to pay the huge legal bills on both sides of the case, yet years of time to actually solve the problem have been wasted.

According to this article, the residents of area D need to pay those costs so when are you planning, Director Leigh, to disclose those costs to the voters of Area D?

An article was published to the Campell River Mirror on Mar. 15, 2019 and said: “The SRD issued a news release on Friday stating its legal costs are to be paid through the Area D water service as legislatively required.”

Who am I?

I am a hard-working senior citizen who is very dissatisfied with the governance of Area D and I am seriously considering running for Area D Director in this year’s elections.

I believe it is time to elect someone who can actually sit in board meetings who is willing to listen, show respect, gather the facts, foster relationships, and find opportunities to better serve the entire area.

John Rice

Strathcona Regional District