Shar­ing cost of wa­ter bill, don’t panic

Cambridge Edition - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - CAITLIN MOORBY

Norma Mackie doesn’t mind pay­ing for wa­ter, as long as she is only pay­ing for what she uses.

The Cam­bridge pen­sioner lives in Brock Place in one of three units on a cross-lease sec­tion.

She cur­rently pays $386.11 per year for wa­ter through her rates, the same as ev­ery­body else in the Waipa Dis­trict.

Waipa Dis­trict Coun­cil is in the process of in­stalling wa­ter me­ters at all dis­trict prop­er­ties. About 8000 of about12,000 have been in­stalled. About 1000 are on cross-lease sec­tions.

Once all are in­stalled, many homes on cross-lease sec­tions will be re­quired to split wa­ter costs evenly be­tween the num­ber of prop­er­ties on the cross lease, re­gard­less of how many peo­ple live in each home.

Mackie said this is un­fair, be­cause she will have to split wa­ter costs with two other units.

‘‘I don’t mind pay­ing for wa­ter. I just don’t want to pay for any­body else’s, and the feel­ing is mu­tual across town.’’

Mackie said she re­ceived a let­ter from coun­cil which said crosslease prop­er­ties that don’t have sep­a­rate wa­ter con­nec­tions would have to share wa­ter costs.

‘‘It’s ei­ther split the cost with my neigh­bours or in­di­vid­u­ally pay for a plumber to in­stall the pipe work re­quired for my own me­ter,’’ Mackie said.

Clive Gar­ish lives on Carlisle St in Leam­ing­ton and will have to share his wa­ter bill with a neigh­bour.

He also doesn’t mind pay­ing for wa­ter but thinks shar­ing a me­ter is un­fair. He’s also wor­ried about the re­sale value of his prop­erty.

‘‘I’m sure the agent didn’t know about this when she sold me the house, but it’s pub­lic now, peo­ple know about it.’’

His re­search sug­gested it would cost about $2000 for a plumber to put in sep­a­rate wa­ter con­nec­tions.

It’s not al­ways tech­ni­cally or legally pos­si­ble to put a sin­gle wa­ter me­ter on ev­ery com­plex prop­erty, the coun­cil’s pro­ject de­liv­ery man­ager Lor­raine Ken­drick said.

For these prop­er­ties coun­cil, will in­stall one wa­ter me­ter on the prop­erty boundary and the costs of wa­ter use will be equally split be­tween the num­ber of prop­er­ties it serves, she said.

‘‘Coun­cil’s pref­er­ence would be to have one me­ter per house­hold, but it’s a his­tor­i­cal is­sue. We want the best out­come for these res­i­dents, but we’re stuck, too.’’

Wa­ter woes

Coun­cil will have a team work­ing with peo­ple on the is­sue over next 14 months.

Con­tact coun­cil, 0800 924 723 or wa­ter.me­ters @waipadc.govt.nz.

All wa­ter me­ters are ex­pected to be in­stalled by the mid­dle of 2017. Billing be­gins, 2018.

Peo­ple will re­ceive at least two mock bills, which will in­di­cate costs.

The coun­cil has ac­knowl­edged the con­cerns from prop­erty own­ers and ten­ants and a team has been put in place to work through com­plex is­sues about wa­ter me­ters and some crosslease prop­er­ties in the dis­trict.

Mayor Jim Mylchreest said the sug­ges­tion of split­ting costs evenly has caused ‘‘gen­uine con­cern’’ for some peo­ple and he un­der­stood why but let’s not ‘‘panic.’’

He had asked staff to hold off mov­ing to a split cost so­lu­tion and in­stead put a team in place to work through is­sues on a prop­erty-by-prop­erty ba­sis.

‘‘Let’s work through the is­sues and see if other so­lu­tions might be pos­si­ble, and their costs,’’ he said.

CHRIS­TEL YARD­LEY/FAIRFAX NZ

Norma Mackie will have to split wa­ter costs evenly with two other units.

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