Re­prieve

The Glengarry News - - Front Page - BY STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON News Staff

A group of mul­ti­ple dwelling unit (MDU) own­ers is breath­ing a col­lec­tive sigh of re­lief af­ter South Glen­garry coun­cil chose to re­visit its wa­ter billing plans in Glen Wal­ter and the Lan­caster area.

At its Aug. 8 meet­ing, coun­cil was ready to give sec­ond read­ing to a bill that would have im­posed one min­i­mum billing and flat fee on each unit in an MDU.

Un­der the sta­tus quo, wa­ter and sewage users in Lan­caster and Glen Wal­ter pay a min­i­mum of $803 per year, fol­low­ing a 15 per cent wa­ter rate in­crease the town­ship agreed to in July. About half that to­tal ac­counts for the flat rate ser­vice fee while the other half is for min­i­mum con­sump­tion, a max­i­mum of 19.3 cu­bic me­tres per two months.

Right now, an MDU with eight units would pay at least $803, plus the ex­tra wa­ter used above the 19.3 cu­bic me­tres. The wa­ter rate is $1.69 per cu­bic me­tre

while the sewage rate is $1.26 per cu­bic me­tre.

Un­der the pro­posed sys­tem, that same eight-unit MDU would be charged the same rate per unit, which works out to at least $6,424 per year.

Dean Slaney, who owns a 12unit MDU on Mil­i­tary Road in Lan­caster, says that his build­ing would be taxed 12 times the present rate. He says he’d like to build more MDUs in South Glen­garry but can’t right now be­cause there’s too much fluc­tu­a­tion.

Mr. Slaney acted as a spokesper­son for his fel­low MDU own­ers, who pointed out that com­mer­cial en­ti­ties like the Fly­ing J use more taps than MDUs yet are only pay­ing one min­i­mum fee. They also pointed out that cor­po­ra­tions like LanChar Res­i­dence and Chartwell Res­i­dence are en­joy­ing a 3-1 rate (one min­i­mum per three units) and that sev­eral sin­gle dwelling units had mul­ti­ple taps ( two

bath­rooms, two toi­lets, laun­dry fa­cil­i­ties, out­door hookups) but would still be pay­ing the same min­i­mum rate as a unit in an MDU that might have as lit­tle as three taps.

Mr. Slaney’s group earned the sym­pa­thy of coun­cil. Coun­cil­lor Trevor Bougie said he’d like to visit any dis­crep­an­cies in the sys­tem while Mayor Ian McLeod pointed out that the pro­posal was based on the town­ship’s de­sire to have a uni­form rate through­out the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

“We’re try­ing to get a sys­tem that if you’re in one lo­ca­tion in Glen Wal­ter and a sim­i­lar one in Lan­caster, you pay the same rate,” he said. “How you achieve that is what we’re try­ing to do.”

The mayor pointed out that the res­o­lu­tion be­fore coun­cil that night was sim­ply a sec­ond read­ing to amend the wa­ter rate by­law. Clerk Mar­i­lyn LeBrun said that if the by­law was go­ing to be changed then it should be de­feated.

And de­feated it was. Not one elected of­fi­cial voted for the amend­ment. Mr. Slaney was happy with the de­vel­op­ment. “They de­cided to look back and find some­thing a lit­tle more fair.”

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