Almost a year ago, I wrote an article about universal water metering in Castlegar, soon after this, the City backtracked and suggested voluntary metering, and now, as of the most recent meeting of council, Castlegar is adopting 100% metering, to be phased in over the next 5 years.
An interesting note on the proposed billing, is that they will remain on fixed rate billing until at least 50% of the services in town are metered. At that point they hope to be able to better set rates for consumption.
I have to applaud council and staff of the City of Castlegar on this difficult decision. The method of introduction appears to be fair, and the costs should be equitably spread over a number of years.
As I’ve written before, I’m not opposed to metering, I do believe it has it’s place, particularly when demand is outstripping the infrastructure or supply capacity in a local context. Finding a fair method of billing can be the challenge, and I’m glad that Castlegar has taken some extra time to do their homework on the billing, while not waiting any longer on the installation side of things.
The City has committed to paying for the purchase, installation and maintenance of the meters, which, I assume permitted them to use provincial or federal grant money to offset the cost. This is a smart decision in a city where water consumption is very high, and there is currently no incentive to use less.