The City of White Rock and Epcor have reached an agreement on the purchase of the city’s water utility.
“We heard from the citizens of White Rock that owning our water utility was important. This is the largest project undertaken by the City of White Rock and I am pleased that we have signed the agreement and are taking the next steps to move forward,” Mayor Wayne Baldwin said in a news release issued late Friday afternoon.
The news comes two months after city officials announced plans to expropriate the system from Edmonton-based Epcor, citing at that time a view to acquire title by Sept. 30.
The purchase price was not disclosed in Friday’s statement – which noted the purchase is subject to “customary conditions, including receipt of required regulatory approvals.”
However, at the June council meeting where the expropriation plan was announced, director of financial services Sandra Kurylo estimated the cost at $23 million. The sum, she explained, includes the cost of completing Epcor’s total water quality management project, which includes chlorination of the system by June 2016.
Baldwin had previously described the city’s talks with Epcor as “not going well.”
“Enough is enough. We’ve got to do something now,” he told residents who turned out to a June meeting at the White Rock Community Centre to hear an update on the process.
City manager Dan Bottrill later told Peace Arch News that expropriation of assets for municipal purposes is one of the city’s statutory rights, and the quickest route to acquiring the utility.
In Friday’s release, Epcor’s senior vice-president, John Elford said Epcor respects the city’s interest in owning the utility, and will continue to provide “reliable water services to the community at least until the completion of the sale.”