Staff Recommends Business, Industry Be Given Preferred Water Rate Increase Timetable

Industrial and commercial water users in Abbotsford are to be given a preferred time period before the implementation of higher water rates if staff recommendations are followed according to documents released this week.

Lynn Perrin, of Water Watch Mission Abbotsford released two City of Abbotsford documents showing business and industrial users will have their rates increase in January 0f 2014 while residential users face an increase July 1, 2013 if staff recommendations are followed.

From Lynn Perrin:

COR 20-2013

The current implementation timeline does not allow ICI/Ag customers to
plan for increases. For some high volume users, the impact of the rate
changes is significant. At the top end of the spectrum, rate increases
will be over $50,000 in the first year. For customers who use lower
volumes, the increases are less significant, but may still affect
budgeting for small businesses.

In November 2012, Council approved a change to the City’s water and sewer
rate structure for ICI/Ag customers, with a targeted implementation date
of July 1, 2013. To allow ICI/Ag customers time to adjust budgets, staff
is recommending delaying implementation until January 1, 2014.


ENG 19-2011 Tiered Residential Rates Apr 4 2011
“increasing block water rates for residential users beginning July 1, 2011”


Residential water users were given three month notice of significant
increases to their water rates while commercial / industry has been given
8 month notice (almost 3 times that for residential users). In one case
residential users will be subsidizing an industrial / commercial user
$50,000. This is NOT equitable or acceptable especially when industrial /
commercial are allowed to write of their water expenses for income tax
purposes while that is not the case for the vast majority of residential
water users. My recommendation to industrial / commercial users if they
want to avoid high water bills is to do the same thing that residential
water users have done exceptionally well (up to 33%) CONSERVE WATER!

Lynn Perrin BGS MPP
Water Watch Mission-Abbotsford

Approached in the issue, Sherryl Guthrie, who has conducted a number of polls, face-to-face research into the perceptions the people of Abbotsford have about the way politics is managed in Abbotsford had this to say and conduct last January’s Council Performance Review has this to say:

“As taxpayers here in Abbotsford, we are certainly not in favour of a delayed increase for ICI-Ag customers. The system has been inequitable for years and it’s clearly time for this unfair imbalance to be corrected.

“Furthermore, the reality is this: – If the July 1st increase will mean that water costs increase by $50,000 for a small number of ICI/Ag customers, this means that these same ICI/Ag customers have been SAVING that amount (at taxpayers’ expense) for a number of years.

“By not moving forward with the scheduled water rate increase July 1, these customers (we should know who they are) are not paying their fair share toward a core service that must break even. Some of these customers have been paying LESS than the actual cost of delivery! While Abbotsford taxpayers make up the difference and strive to conserve.

“This, in my opinion, is not an honourable way to conduct business in Abbotsford.”

For Ms. Guthrie’s full response please click here.

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