Proposed Halifax water rate hike 'outrageous'
Halifax Water Commission asking for increase to cover aging infrastructure
A proposed water rate hike of nearly 30 per cent over two years has raised concerns among businesses and homeowners.
Halifax Water Commission wants to increase rates starting in July and again next April. It's all meant to help replace aging pipes and other infrastructure.
If the rate is increased, the water commission says the average homeowner will pay $824.87 a year. That’s up from the current average bill of $635.62. It works out to an increase of nearly $16 a month.
Some landlords in Halifax Regional Municipality say the water rate hikes are unfairly targeting them and their tenants.
Jeremy Jackson speaks for Killam Properties, which rents many of the city's largest apartment buildings. The annual water bill for one unit at Killam’s building at Quinpool Court is $300. If the increases are approved, Jackson said that will go up.
"It’s going to be an extra $150 dollars annually, and the likelihood is that cost will be passed on to the tenant," he said.
"It's actually quite unconscionable that we have to accept that as a rate increase. We're very, very concerned."
James Campbell, a spokesperson for Halifax Water, said they need the money to make important upgrades on water and sewer pipes.
"There’s some well over 100-years-old," he said. "We also have new regulations that came into place last year, through the Federal Fisheries Act, and we estimate we have to spend $2.6 billion over the next 30 years."
The proposal has also upset some businesses.
Oland Brewery told the Utility and Review Board it may not be able to compete with plants in other cities if it has to pay as much as $1 million a year more.
A public hearing on the proposed rate increases will take place April 15.