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Regional district says Nanoose Bay couple must pay $6.4K water bill after undetected leak

Area F director wants a repayment plan established
(PQB News file photo)

A Nanoose Bay couple will be required to pay a $6,400 water bill incurred from an undetected leak that occurred in their property last September.

The Regional District of Nanaimo board endorsed staff recommendation at its regular board meeting Dec. 6 not to forgive the bill and that no amendment is made to the current policy for adjustment for water leak.

Rhonda Leigh and Clark Rutledge appeared as a delegation at the RDN, requesting a review of the water leak forgiveness policy that they consider to be outdated as it was established 16 years ago before tiered water rates were introduced.

This was the couple’s second water leak on their property and it was not immediately detected by the RDN staff as meter readings in the area are only conducted every eight months. It also made the couple ineligible of the RDN’s water leak forgiveness policy as they were already granted one and is only provided only once every five years.

READ MORE: Nanoose Bay couple seeks forgiveness on $6.4K water bill after unforeseen leak

RDN general manager of regional and community utilities, Ellen Tian, told the Electoral Area Services Committee last month the RDN water leak policy, compared to those in other jurisdictions on the Island, is “reasonable.” She added that granting an exemption could set a precendent that may impact the consistent application of the policy.

“The cost of any forgivness is shared among all users in the water service area,” said Tian, who also indicated “each revenue gained or lost will be borne by all users in the same water service area.”

Electoral Area F (Coombs, Hilliers, Errington, Whiskey Creek, Meadowood) director Leanne Salter made a notice of motion to the corporate officer asking staff to come up with a report for water bill repayment plan for residents who experience a leak in the potable water system on their property but are not eligible for a water leak adjustment to their RDN water bill.

“The motion on the table here is looking at providing some time to for the folks who don’t fall under the existing policy some time to repay that larger amount,” CAO Douglas Holme said. “I happen to know unfortunately from first-hand experiece of a sprinkler leak, the City of Nanaimo has sort of a payment plan itself. We would look to Nanaimo and other municipalities within the area to get guidance on preparing a recommendation to the board.”

The RDN board unanimously support Salter’s motion.

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Michael Briones

About the Author: Michael Briones

I rejoined the PQB News team in April 2017 from the Comox Valley Echo, having previously covered sports for The NEWS in 1997.
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