The Regional District of Nanaimo plans to increase water rates by two per cent in 2021. (PQB News file photo)

Regional District of Nanaimo plans 2 per cent hike in water rates

Increase will help pay for maintenance and uprades to water systems

The Regional District of Nanaimo is proposing a two per cent increase in water rates in 2021.

Manager of water services, Murray Walters, reported the increase will finance ongoing maintenance, upgrades and improvements to the regional district’s water systems.

The Electoral Area Services Committee, at its meeting on Sept. 9, endorsed the amendment to the water rates bylaw which will be presented to the RDN board for approval.

The RDN operates nine water systems and applies a common inclined block rate structure to determined water rates. It is designed to follow price signals to encourage conservation and ensure a modest financial impact on the lowest users which typically ae single resident and senior households.

READ MORE: Regional District of Nanaimo changes start times of meetings

The adjusted rates also reflect changes in the Canada’s Consumer Price Index, which Walters indicated has been at two per cent for many years. Currently, the minimum daily rate is $.035 and next year that will go up to $.036.

Walters indicated RDN staff members are are working to develop a long-term capital plan for the district’s water service areas. It would result in a detailed asset management plan in 2021 that will guide preparation of the short- and long-term financial plans for these utilities. Next year, further analysis will be conducted to establish the revenue requirements to support the long-term financial plans, and to ensure the balance between user rates and parcel taxes is reasonable and sustainable.

A renewed water conservation plan for RDN’s water service areas was adopted by the board last July and suggested changes to the ‘inclined block’ water rate in the future to be considered to further support water system sustainability. RDN staff anticipate that future user rate increases, based on the long-term financial plans and sustainability targets, will exceed the CPI.

— NEWS Staff

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