Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz appears to have reversed his opinion on whether or not certain Winnipeggers who had frozen pipes should get a city rebate for thawing.
Right now, more than 1,200 homes are on a wait list to have their pipes thawed by city crews. Waits were last reported in excess of two weeks.
On March 11, city officials announced they would offer rebates to people who had paid the city a $305 service charge to have their pipes thawed. But officials said they would only offer that to people who had their pipes thawed after Feb. 28.
On March 11, he said, “The best analogy I can give you is you're doing renovation to your washrooms. You put in new toilets, and two weeks after that we come up with a program either through the city or the province to basically have a subsidy, and people who did it before, they don't get it.”
But then Coun. Paula Havixbeck put forth a motion to have the rebates backdated to Jan. 1.
That motion was before the city’s executive policy committee on Wednesday. They voted to have administration look at how it might work to backdate the rebates.
Now, Katz appears to be reconsidering his position on the issue.
“If you're going to err, err on the side of the citizens who are going through some very unique hardships at this point in time, so I think we should get the numbers and see what it means,” said Katz.
Coun. Paula Havixbeck said the mayor is sending mixed messages to property owners.
“People thought that they could already be reimbursed, so there is a lot of confusion about this issue,” said Havixbeck. “The goal is people are not feeling this financially, and they have their water service.”
For now, the administration will look at the cost of rebating the services so councillors can decide if it’s worth it.