Se­niors protest

Kenora Daily Miner and News - - FRONT PAGE - REG CLAY­TON

Condo res­i­dents ob­ject to pro­posed city wa­ter rate hike.

City coun­cil got an ear­ful from lo­cal res­i­dents of two Kenora se­niors res­i­dences protest­ing a po­ten­tial in­crease in their wa­ter bills with dep­u­ta­tions at a spe­cial meet­ing, Tues­day, May 15.

The pro­posed switch from a sin­gle wa­ter me­ter and billing sys­tem for multi-unit se­niors con­do­mini­ums and apart­ment blocks in Kenora to in­di­vid­ual me­ters and bills for each res­i­dence is pro­jected to in­crease their monthly bills by more than 300 per cent ac­cord­ing to crit­ics of the rec­om­men­da­tions pro­posed in the Sin­gle Me­ter Sewer and Wa­ter re­port re­viewed by city coun­cil on March 28.

Ron Brown, rep­re­sent­ing South­ward Villa ten­ants, ad­vised coun­cil that once the change to in­di­vid­ual me­ter­ing goes into ef­fect, res­i­dents of the 27 unit build­ing can ex­pect to see their wa­ter and sewer bills in­crease from about $23 to $79 per month.

“Ten­ants are se­niors who sold their homes af­ter their chil­dren moved away to (save on liv­ing ex­penses),” Brown said. “Some are in their 80s and 90s liv­ing on CPP, OAS and sav­ings ... and im­pos­ing the ad­di­tional cost in­creases (fi­nan­cial) hard­ship.”

Brown sug­gested coun­cil con­sider a six-month de­lay on im­ple­ment­ing the changes un­til af­ter the mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion in Oc­to­ber to pro­vide se­niors with time to con­sider the fi­nan­cial im­pli­ca­tions of the pro­posal.

Jan­ice McDon­ald rep­re­sent­ing Grand­view Villa res­i­dents ex­pressed sim­i­lar con­cerns.

She noted res­i­dents of the 33 unit block cur­rently pay an average of $30.81, which would in­crease to about $107.72 per month, a 350 per cent in­crease.

“Kenora needs af­ford­able, se­cure, at­trac­tive hous­ing for our ag­ing pop­u­la­tion who can no longer man­age their sin­gle fam­ily dwellings. But the cost for up­grad­ing in­fra­struc­ture should not come on their backs at a time when their in­comes are fixed or di­min­ish­ing,” McDon­ald said. “These are peo­ple who built this com­mu­nity and are now feel­ing gouged by this as­tro­nom­i­cal in­crease in wa­ter rates.”

Coun­cil ac­cepted the in­for­ma­tion with­out com­ment and a for­mal re­sponse is an­tic­i­pated at the next reg­u­lar monthly meet­ing.

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