Saturday July 26, 2014


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Water rates


Dear Editor,

In response to the article regarding the Airport Water in the newspaper dated January 28, 2013 we would like to inform the public what the residents of the Airport Subdivision have been fighting for over four years.

The Airport Subdivision has had water and sewer services since the Army built the airport and the subdivision.  We have always paid for our water and sewer on a quarterly basis.  We used to pay $90/quarter, with 20% of the amount going to the Airport itself for administration and maintenance of the lines.

In 2008 we were TOLD that our water/sewer rates were going up, drastically.  Up until then we did not have water meters, but the residents spoke up and asked for the meters to go in.

We the residents of the Airport Subdivision formed a committee to voice our concerns to the City of Fort St John.  Our delegates attended a city council meeting and presented a fair representation of why we felt we were being unfairly treated by the City.

The committee has been working away since 2008 to try and get an equitable resolution to this unfair situation.  Arthur Hadland made a motion to the PRRD to take this issue to the Municipal Auditor General to get an unbiased opinion to what is going on, however the motion was defeated.

The Mayor seems to think that this is the end of the fight.  Mayor Ackerman’s comment that the PRRD doesn’t have a water function so they can’t discuss the issue of price with the City.

Mayor Ackerman’s comment about the rates reflect the fact that the” City of Fort St John supplies and shoulders all liability for water services to the Electoral Area”  the City of Fort St John supplies the water but they do not “shoulder” any of the cost for the infrastructure out at the Airport.  The PRRD maintains the lines, always has.  The City has never paid anything towards the providing or maintaining the lines out at the Airport.

The rates for water/sewer are as follows:

City of Fort St John residents - $1.12/m3water, $1.18/m3 sewer = $2.30/m3

Commercial users of Fort St John -  $1.12/m3, $1.18/m3 = $2.30/m3

Industrial users of Fort St John and area (OSB) - $1.12/m3, $1.18/m3 = $2.30/m3

57 Residents of the Airport Subdivision -  $3.00/m3, $3.00/m3 = $6.00/m3

Plus we pay and additional $1.20/m3 to the Airport for Administration which our total now is $7.20 cubic meter!

To translate that into dollars, my July, August, September bill was over $900.

When asked why we were not treated like Dawson Creek’s out-of-city limit residents who are hooked up directly to the cities water like we are – Mayor Ackerman said it wasn’t their policy to treat us like that.  Dawson Creek is grandfathered in.  We too had a legal agreement stating we would have the same rate as the commercial users in Fort St. John – not sure what happened to that.  Grande Prairies practice is the same as Dawson Creeks to the County residents – same price as the City residents pay.  (Dawson and GP do not maintain the water and sewer lines nor does the City of FSJ maintain ours).

Why does the Peace Valley OSB plant pay the same rate as the residents of Fort St John for their water?.

Without a doubt the cost of pumping the water through the lines to the OSB plant is the same as the cost to send it to the Airport Subdivision. Considering it’s flowing through the same pipe until it reaches the traffic circle and then splits off.

Surely the cost of treating the water for the residents of Fort St John and the residents of the Airport Subdivision are the same?  Is the City only treating our water at the Airport Subdivision?  I certainly hope not. There is no justifiable reason the City of Fort St John has for the outrageous rates we pay.  The Airport at one time supplied the City of FSJ water.

We do not get water “delivered”, we do not “get it ourselves”.  Our water comes out of the taps just like every other resident of Fort St John. We have water lines connected to the City lines. So why are we being targeted and persecuted by the City of Fort St John with these rates? 

As residents of the PRRD we pay our taxes to the PRRD but we support the City.  The PRRD has supported the City by paying 2/3 of the leisure pool and help pay for the landfill facility, as well as the majority of the cost of our new hospital.  Yet these 57 residents are being treated so unfairly regarding the most precious of resources, the very basic of human needs, water.

Apparently, Mayor Ackerman would prefer the concerns to come in individually from the residents, rather than the combined efforts of our Committee or the complaints that Arthur Hadland has been making on our behalf.  We have been emailing her on behalf of the Airport Subdivision but I guess she takes that as ONLY ONE complaint not 57!

The residents of the Airport Subdivision are part of the community of Fort St John.  We work there, we spend there, we support the charities, we support the sports teams.  We are all part of the wonderful community we call the Peace.  All we want is to be treated fairly and with respect. 

Why are 57 households being persecuted so badly by the City of Fort St John?  Why do we deserve to be treated so badly?  Can Mayor Ackerman answer that question?


Donna Greenway

Airport Water Committee

Peace Region



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