No break for bulk water customers

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An attempt to extend a break to residents who rely on bulk water deliveries has fallen short at Norfolk council.

Vittoria Coun. Chris Van Paassen sponsored a motion on Feb. 18 calling on Norfolk to reduce the metered rate for all bulk customers to $3.32 per cubic metre. The current going rate is $4.32 per cubic metre.

VanPaassen said bulk water customers in Windham-area Ward 4 are paying more now that the bulk depot in Port Dover is closed. Bulk haulers forced to source their water in Jarvis and Simcoe are charging a premium for the extra distance they have to travel.

In his motion, Van Paassen said the closure in Port Dover “has created undue hardship for local hauling businesses and their customers.” Van Paassen added he was not asking for much.

“It’s only going to be two-and-a-half times as expensive as what you get out of the pipe instead of three times as expensive,” he said.

This council has been reluctant to entertain one-off deals for individuals and groups that seek a break from established charges.

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Simcoe Coun. Ian Rabbitts said council made tough decisions in recent weeks regarding Norfolk budgets and that it needs to stick to its guns for the sake of solvency and sustainability.

“The rate budget coming up (at the end of 2020) is going to be just as difficult,” Rabbitts said. “We made a commitment to pay for the service and now we’re prepared to renege on it.

“I wonder what the implications are for our future rate-supported budget. I’m sorry but I can’t support it.”

Norfolk’s incoming CAO Jason Burgess estimated the break Van Paassen sought would cost the county about $70,000 a year.

Norfolk council imposed a moratorium on new development in Port Dover last year after concluding the town does not have sufficient filtration capacity to service new subdivisions. The moratorium was extended to include bulk sales at the water tower on the east side of town off Highway 6.

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