Re: Metering model disputed, Summerland Review, Oct. 2.
I agree with Mr. Hooper the irrigation deal is unfair to owners of properties between half an acre and two acres.
We all know that to grow grapes, fruits, vegetables, flowers, or lawn, we must irrigate.
Most of the above mentioned plants need about 650 millimetres rain, while our rainfall is around 350 mm.
Fewer people might know that it is physically impossible to irrigate any property over a half-acre from the low-pressure domestic system.
We need to water sensibly, and we all need to pay our fair share. But the proposed model is very unfair. Why?
1. The property owner must pay for the installation of the meter at an estimated cost of $1,500. Property owners who cannot afford this will be expected to go without irrigation water. There’s no other choice given.
2. To quote from the municipal letter: “You will be billed $35.82 per month flat fee for the use of the second water service.”
This is not a second water service. We are not putting in a second house. This is irrigation that will be turned off for half a year, though the property owner will still be billed twelve month per year.
3. Also from the letter: “It should also be noted that the monthly flat fee of $35.82 will be under review sometime in 2015.” This means that though everyone else has some idea what they will pay, owners of the affected properties don’t, since no rate has been set yet.
What would make the deal fair?
The properties should be charged the irrigation rate, which stands at $144 per acre plus usage, the proposed rate will cost $429.84, until the review. After that? Well, we don’t know yet.
Originally everyone who had an irrigation line was to have a blue box for free.
Why are 280 properties forced to pay for boxes that everyone else has for free? Irrigation is not a luxury but a necessity for these properties in this valley.
What else is wrong with this deal?
There was no public input, no public discussion or any bill passed by council.
Some bureaucrats made the decision without any of the democratic process.
I’d like to urge people to speak up. We have a municipal election, and this is often the best time to have our voices heard.