Springhill rate hike

Justin Dickie
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Residents facing possible 46% increase to water bill

Citizens here could soon face a drought in their pockets if a proposed hike in water rates is accepted by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.

Citizens here could soon face a drought in their pockets if a proposed hike in water rates is accepted by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.

Springhill finance director John Boyle, engineering and public works director John Kelly, and president of W.H. Gates Utility Consultants Ltd. Bill Gates met before Kulvinder Dhillon of the review board at town hall on Wednesday to propose a plan that would see residential water rates increase 46 per cent from $71.17 to $104.09, paid quarterly.

"From my experience, ($104.09) is not out of line with what other people are paying in the province," Dhillon said.

The jump in rates is seen as necessary to help with things such as maintenance to water lines and the $7 million price tag on the recently built water treatment facility.

But for rates to go up so much so fast is an issue for some residents.

"I understand that water rates have to go up to cover new services, but it also happens in other places than the little town of Springhill," said resident Jim Dodd at the public hearing. "Moncton's raising their rates 1.5 per cent over the next 10 years, which is reasonable. Not 46 per cent first year.

"I've never heard anything to be declared so unreasonable in my life."

Many residents in Springhill have to deal with smelly, undrinkable water and low pressure. Part of the reason why rates are going up is to try to solve these problems, something of which resident Darrell Babineau couldn't make sense.

"I feel maybe when you fix the problem, then you bill me accordingly," Babineau said. "I'm sure if we're going to renovate our homes, we don't go and get a carpenter and say 'I'm going to give you $100 a month for the next seven months and on the eighth month, you're going to come in and do the job.' You get the carpenter in, fix the problem, and pay the guy."

Former council member John Henderson felt the water department's financial numbers were out of whack.

"I believe our mayor and our MLA, Mr. Scott, should go to the provincial government and ask for a forensic audit of the finances of the water department for the town of Springhill," he said.


Organizations: Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, W.H. Gates Utility Consultants

Geographic location: Moncton

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Recent comments

  • ellen
    January 18, 2010 - 11:21

    I spent 5 weeks at my son,s home on Herrett Rd. this summer and would not let an animal drink what you are charging for. in fact I wouldn,t even wash in it! Whatever you spent your money on to fix the water certainly didn,t work and i suggest YOU in gov. find the answer before you start asking for more money. The little guys are taxed to death already! I,m from Cumb. Co. and I left for that reason and no decent work to pay it.

  • Jim
    January 18, 2010 - 11:08

    I personally, will never drink Springhill water again no matter what they do to it and raising the rate by that much is just crazy. Some people won't pay it because it is just too much and some will not pay it because they won't be able to afford it. There is no extra money in it for them if half the towns residents water is shut off. That will look really good to new businesses and new residents thinking about moving to town, what a joke!!!

  • Roe
    January 18, 2010 - 10:51

    You know, if a person could actually DRINK the darned stuff they wouldn't mind paying for it!! The water seems to be just as bad, if not worse, than the water we had before the 7 million dollar treatment facility was built! I am now on a well, and couldn't be happier! The water here in town stinks but is apparently safe to drink, if you can gag it down.