Summerland council is considering a bylaw requiring pit meters. (District of Summerland photo)

Summerland council is considering a bylaw requiring pit meters. (District of Summerland photo)

Summerland council considers pit meters

Proposed water meter bylaw change debated at council table

The municipality of Summerland is considering changes to the standard location of water meters in the community.

At the municipal council meeting on Jan. 10, Summerland staff presented a bylaw to make a change to outside pit meters instead of meters installed inside buildings.

“The current standard for water metering is inefficient, onerous and operationally expensive to maintain,” a report from staff stated. The change would affect new construction rather than existing water meters.

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The report to council stated that servicing indoor meters is difficult and time-consuming. Contacting the property owner and arranging entry to the building takes an average of an hour and a half per meter. This does not include the time required to swap or repair the meter.

Metering changes have come to the Development Process Improvement Advisory Committee earlier in October 2021. At that time, concerns were raised about the costs of the pit meters, the number of connection points and other communities not requiring the meters.

The municipality says the pit meters allow monitoring of all water used on a property, and leaks can be detected sooner than with in-building meters.

The metering changes, if approved, would apply to new meters and replacements rather than to all existing water meters.

“The intent of this bylaw change is not to have a mass swap of indoor meters to outdoor meters but rather have this requirement triggered at subdivision or building permit when a new water service is being installed or when an existing water service is exposed to be connected to or upgraded,” the report to council stated.

Members of council raised questions about the proposed bylaw.

“There’s no cost benefit to the owner. The benefit is to the district,” said Coun. Doug. Patan. “This is going to affect everyone in Summerland.” He added that council should work to make things simpler for its citizens.

Coun. Marty Van Alphen and Coun. Doug Holmes both suggested the meter changes should be in place for new construction, not renovations.

Coun. Richard Barkwill questioned whether meters for residential uses result in significant savings.

The information in the proposed bylaw package was received for information.

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