Clarification about water and sewer rates

At last week’s Environment Committee, the City’s Treasurer brought forward a report on the Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater Rate Structure Review. The purpose of the review is to develop more certainty in regard to how much money is collected annually from the water and sewer rate. Only residents who receive water and sewer services have a water and sewer bill. Properties on wells and septic systems do not receive these bills, and for obvious reasons.  Before explaining a specific portion of this review and how it may impact rural properties, I just want to make it clear that nobody is proposing that residents on wells and septic systems pay anything related to those private services. If you’ve heard rumours of that very thing, strike them from your memory as that is not going to happen. Nobody is metering your wells. End of story.

On to the matter at hand: storm water management. I imagine this point could be argued, but every property creates storm water runoff. Some properties drain into ditches, some into ponds and some into storm water sewers. At this point, all maintenance of these facilities is paid for by the water and sewer rate budget. Prior to amalgamation, this maintenance was part of the regular tax bill in Goulbourn Township and Rideau Township. For some reason, the transition board overseeing amalgamation moved storm water management from the tax supported budget to the rate supported budget.

Since last week, I have heard concerns that this is a way of taxing rural residents to pay for urban infrastructure. That is simply not the case and this is not an urban vs. rural issue. In fact, there are 15,000 properties within the urban area that also do not receive water and sewer bills. Consider a downtown parking lot in terms of storm water runoff. The entire property would instantly drain into storm water sewers but that property owner doesn’t pay a cent toward that maintenance. This review will look at how to appropriately charge a property owner for a benefit they receive.

This review is only just beginning and there will be a public consultation component. As a member of Environment Committee, and also as Chair of the Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee, I will be paying close attention to this review and how it could impact residents in the rural area. If you have any questions regarding this review, please contact me.

Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee

Speaking of the Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee, due to the scheduling of the Rural Expo and Food Aid Day on Thursday, June 4th, the next meeting of ARAC has been moved to Friday, June 5th. The meeting will take place at its usual location (Ben Franklin Place) and at its usual time (10:00am).

The agenda for this upcoming meeting of ARAC is fairly light. It features a Status Update on Inquiries and Motions; the 2015-2018 Draft Term of Council Priorities; Semi-Annual Performance Report; and the quarterly Omnibus and Anomaly Zoning Amendment. The other agenda item is the 2013-2014 Update of the Rural Residential Land Survey, of which there will be a presentation on.

Following the regular ARAC agenda, members of the Committee will sit as the Court of Revision to receive the engineer’s report for the Devine Municipal Drain.

Proposed Trail Road Solar Project

Energy Ottawa, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hydro Ottawa Holding Inc., is planning to submit a proposal to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to develop a solar panel development on the site of the former Nepean landfill. This project is proposed to be predominantly located at 4402 Trail Road, with additional project components situated on 3654 and 3704 Moodie Drive.

Energy Ottawa is hosting a public community meeting to discuss the proposal at the Trail Road Waste Facility, 4475 Trail Road, on Wednesday, June 10th between 6:00pm and 8:00pm. For more information, you can visit www.energyottawa.com or contact Sasha McCulloch at Energy Ottawa by calling 613-225-0418 ext.7051 or by email at sashamcculloch@energyottawa.com.

North Gower Farmers’ Market - Opening Day May 30

The North Gower Farmers' Market is returning for another season.  Opening Day is Saturday, May 30th and will run every Saturday until Thanksgiving. This year, there are over 40 local vendors featuring a variety of items including local produce, meats, homemade foods, all kinds of baking and, new this year, there is a wine vendor. As always, there are also many local artisans with handcrafted creations and breakfast and lunch is also available each week.

Come out on opening day, say hello to your favorite vendors and discover new ones.  Craig Carmichael of Carmichael Woodworks will be demonstrating how he turns a raw log into a complete carving using a chainsaw. Within minutes the wood chips will be flying and the log will start to resemble the sculpture within. Each piece has its own unique personality as it emerges from the block of wood. 

For more information go to www.ngfarmersmarket.com.

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If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at Scott.Moffatt@ottawa.ca or contact me by phone at 613-580-2491.