LETTERS: Murkiness over water secrecy

Re: Water deal muzzles city for 3 years, Nov. 18.

An open letter to White Rock mayor and council.

Re: Water deal muzzles city for 3 years, Nov. 18.

On Nov. 15, 2014, you were elected by the taxpayers of White Rock to be honest, truthful and transparent. And yet you enter into an agreement with Epcor that contains a three-year confidentiality agreement – an agreement to spend millions of taxpayer dollars where details will not be made public until after the next city election, which is scheduled for Nov. 17, 2018.

You were elected to not only be honest and transparent, but to be seen to be honest and transparent.

The city had the option of expropriation, where you had control over the process, rather than a price determined through arbitration.

Taxpayers deserve an explanation for the reasons that the city felt that they had to accept that details of the agreement were to be kept secret until after the next election. This absence of transparency leads taxpayers to think that back-room deals are probably taking place.

The taxpayers also deserve an explanation as to the reasons that the city would not at first provide a copy of this agreement, and it was the BC Comptroller of Water Rights’ office that provided a copy.

The appearance to the average taxpayer is that the city is being less than honest and transparent – and taxpayers are being treated like mushrooms, being kept in the dark.

Richard Gill, Surrey

• • •

Editor:

One aspect of the City of White Rock’s purchase of the water utility that has not been fully disclosed is the shift in the cost of fire protection, known as the hydrant charge, from property tax to the water bill.

We, the citizens, don’t know what happened behind closed doors, but what we do know is that this shift benefits the owners and developers of the highest value properties at the expense of the rest of us.

The owner of a $2-million condo gets such a big benefit that it’s like getting their water for free for the entire year, while the owner of a low-value property feels the full impact of higher water costs.

Seniors who participate in the program to defer property tax suffer a double-whammy, since they will no longer be able to defer this part of the property tax. It will now be embedded in their water bill.

It may be just a few dollars a month more, but did our council really intend to make seniors subsidize the wealthy and developers? We can’t even tell if they knew what they were doing, since it’s all so secret.

Tenants who are obliged to pay utilities may also find themselves subsidizing their landlords, if they end up paying a water bill that includes a charge that really benefits the landlord. It’s been part of their property tax in the past.

Depending on the facts for each specific water consumer, they may be hurt or benefited by council’s action.

How did it happen that in our community the rich get subsidized by seniors and the less fortunate?

My guess is that when you understand that the biggest beneficiaries of this switch are the developers of the multi-million-dollar condos, it’s pretty clear that this is the work of those at city hall who listen to the developers who swarm around there, rather than the citizens of this city.

Dorothy Bower, White Rock

 

 

Just Posted

Crashes pile up as snow blankets Surrey

Up to 10 centimetres of snow is in the forecast

How much does your city spend per person on snow removal?

Black Press Media compares 2018 ice and snow removal budgets of various Lower Mainland communities

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Former North Delta pastor, son ‘preyed upon shared spirituality’ to defraud investors of $450K: BCSC

BCSC panel publishes financial sanctions against Alan and Jerry Braun, Steven Maxwell

Plan to redevelop former Surrey motel site too dense, says Coun. Pettigrew

Pettigrew: ‘We need to build liveable community with green spaces… not massive zones that are densified’

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

Ex-Langley spiritual leader cleared of stock trading allegations

Investors allegedly lost $740,000 investing through a local religious organization.

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

Abbotsford man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

Most Read

l -->