Ottawa pumps water rates up 9 per cent a year
The average Ottawa household water bill will increase by $40 or $50 a year for the next three years after council voted to hike water and sewer rates Wednesday.
Councillors voted 18-1 in favour of a nine per cent increase in water and wastewater rates starting May 1.
That will boost water rates from 86.8 cents to 94.6 cents per cubic metre.
Water rates will go up an additional nine per cent in each of the two subsequent years, gushing to $1.12 per cubic metre by 2010.
Most of the extra money will pay for infrastructure such as new pipes and the expansion of the city's wastewater treatment plant, said Dixon Weir, the city's manager of water services.
"What we're seeing now is that that infrastructure that was installed in the '40s and '50s coming to that point where it requires reinvestment and renewal," he said, adding that the city is trying to address that before it impacts services.
Capital ward Coun. Clive Doucet said the $16 million in salt that the city spread over the streets to melt the snow this year didn't help the wastewater infrastructure.
"It's making the pipes break down faster," he said, adding that he expects taxpayers to see a lot more "specialty charges" in the future to cover the cost of city services.
Weir said the water rate hike is in line with increases in other cities.
In 2007, rates went up 12 per cent from 77.5 cents per cubic metre in 2006.
The water rate hike comes on top of next year's property tax increase of 4.9 per cent.
Gloucester-South Nepean Coun. Steve Desroches was the only council member to vote against the water rate increase.