White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin and Delta Mayor Lois Jackson.

Metro Vancouver to jack utility fees 23 per cent over five years

Drinking water, sewer projects will drive regional costs up, forecast shows

Sharply rising costs to upgrade Metro Vancouver’s sewer and water system will translate into steadily rising utility fees for the region’s residents.

A new five-year forecast tabled by the regional district shows overall regional levies are expected to climb 23 per cent by 2018, costing the average household nearly $100 more than today.

The average $725,000 home that paid $418 for regional utilities this year will see that rise to $430 next year – a 2.9 per cent increase – and a projected $516 by 2018.

“It’s a little bit disturbing,” White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin said of the nearly 25 per cent increase in utility fees over five years, adding that’s far more than the rate of increase of property taxes from most local cities.

“We would be crucified at our end if we were to throw out those numbers,” Baldwin said at a recent meeting of Metro’s finance committee.

Regional water servicing costs are slated to rise from $147 per average household now to $152 in 2014 and reach $189 by 2018, reflecting increases of around eight per cent in the next four years.

Cost drivers include the new Seymour-Capilano Filtration Project, adding ultraviolet drinking water disinfection to the Coquitlam source and building new tunnels beneath the Fraser River to carry drinking water to Surrey.

The sewage system – where rising federal standards are forcing Metro to rebuild two treatment plants  – is pushing sewer levy hikes from $171 now to $216 by 2018.

The sewage cost projection is considered tentative because regional district officials don’t yet know how much of the $1.7-billion-plus price tag for new treatment plants might come from senior governments.

And the regional board is also contemplating changing the formula that apportions sewage upgrade costs across the region – as a result the actual household impact could vary wildly depending on each city’s share.

Although Metro Vancouver has forecast soaring garbage tipping fees – rising from $107 per tonne now to $150 and beyond in the coming years as it builds a new waste-to-energy plant – that’s not expected to bite as deeply at the household level.

The solid waste levy is projected to translate into an increase from $60 per household now to $66 by 2018.

That’s because organic waste collection and other recycling gains are expected to mean households generally will produce less garbage that incurs tipping fees in the years ahead.

The levy for the main regional district budget – which mostly goes to run Metro regional parks and to pay for planning and administration costs – is projected to rise slightly from $40 per household to $45 by 2018.

Some Metro Vancouver directors want the region to look at increasing regional development cost charges, which haven’t changed in several years, as one way of generating more revenue.

And Delta Mayor Lois Jackson questioned why Metro Vancouver still owns the Ashcroft ranch – which it once intended to turn into a new landfill until it was blocked by the province and opposing First Nations.

“We should be getting taxpayers value out of that land,” Jackson said. “We’re not in the business of running ranches. Taxpayers’ dollars are sitting out there.”

Metro officials said the ranch continues to run and is covering its operating costs.

They said the region had been holding off on trying to sell the land due to low real estate prices but will review the decision this fall.

 

THE RISING COSTS OF REGIONAL UTILITIES | Create infographics

Just Posted

Cloverdale Rodeo finals hand out $330K to champion riders

Bareback rider Caleb Bennet tied the arena’s record with a 93.5-point ride Monday

‘It’s a game changer’: 15-year-old wins professional skateboarding contest on two skateboards

‘No one has ever seen it before’ said producer of Cloverdale contest

Winners to come to Semiahmoo Shopping Centre

Former Zellers to also include a gym and daycare

Peace Arch Hospital, Sources requesting volunteers

Program to help seniors get home safely after hospital stay

Delta looking to add over 30 dedicated pickleball courts by 2022

The program would see eight outdoor pickleball courts built in North Delta before the end of 2019

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Man arrested after police standoff and fire at Abbotsford home

Suspect allegedly breached conditions to not be near victim or her home

Growing wildfire prompts evacuation of High Level, Alta.

Chuckegg Creek fire has been burning for several day, but grew substantially Sunday

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to B.C.

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone charity weekend in Kelowna

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

UPDATE: Highway 1 reopened after multi-vehicle crash east of Chilliwack

Westbound lanes near Herrling Island were closed for hours amid busy holiday weekend traffic

Police watchdog investigating motorcycle crash in Kamloops

A Kamloops Mountie had stopped the driver for speeding, but they raced off from the 0fficer

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Most Read

l -->