July 29, 2015 - 1:00 PM
KAMLOOPS – The city is in the last stages of fitting every home in Kamloops with a water meter and those either refusing a meter or hooked to an illegal connection will soon be charged a fine.
With 20,700 meters installed since 2011, the city says there are still about 150 left to do and notes issues with meter refusal and illegal connections as the last remaining challenges to completing the project.
Letters of warning will be issued to residents who refuse meters. If a meter is not installed by Oct. 1, 2015, the homeowner will be charged $945 quarterly. That adds up to $3,780 for the year.
The $945 charge is based off of practices in Kelowna, where non-compliant homeowners are charged $1,200 per quarter. This charge equates to Kelowna’s single highest residential water user.
A similar letter will be sent to homeowners with illegal connections. If the homeowner does not adjust the property's plumbing by June 30, 2016, a fine of $250 will be charged for the first offence. Fines will double up to a maximum of $1,000 each quarter until the adjustments are made.
The delayed charge for residents with illegal connections did not sit well with some councillors. Coun. Tina Lange called this tantamount to theft, where Coun. Marg Spina thought these residents should be fined more than $250 for a first offense.
Illegal connections are where service connections come off of the line before the water meter. The service goes unregistered by the meter not charging the homeowner for water.
Public Works director, Jen Fretz, explained to council that residents need time to make adjustments to their plumbing, as some might not be aware of an illegal connection.
Those residents currently in non-compliance can contact public works to arrange for water meter installation.
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