Proposed water, sewer rate increases needed for new facilities: Winnipeg councillor

It could soon cost more to use water in Winnipeg, with city councillors set to vote on a recommendation to increase water rates.

A report released by the Winnipeg Public Service tables the recommendation that such rates go up by 23 per cent by 2027. It would take the cost of an already approved rate of $2 per cubic metre last year, to $2.23 over the next three years.

The report also pushes for an increase to the sewer rate from last year’s number at $2.96, to $4 per cubic metre by 2027.

The report will be put to a vote by members of the city’s standing policy committee on water, waste and environment on Jan. 8.

Speaking to 680 CJOB, councillor and committee chair Brian Mayes said the proposed increases are in line with previous changes. He added that there are some factors that hang in the air.

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The proposed rate increases are in line with the committee’s push to bring construction of city projects back onto the agenda. This includes work done to complete phase three of the city’s North End Treatment Plant.

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“There is no allowance made for the $800 million — probably (even) $1 billion — North End Treatment Plant phase three. (We’re) still projecting that we’ll get combined sewer work done by 2095 (while) the deadline’s actually 2045,” said Mayes.

According to the report, a rate change would be due to “major capital and operating cost increases.” Additional factors, as noted in the report, include an increase in cost sharing between the provincial and federal governments for part of the North End Sewage Treatment Plant upgrade. The estimated value of cost sharing is set at $279 million.

Other projects involving water and sewer work include the CentrePort South Servicing project, the Southwest Interceptor project, and the Water Meter Renewal project.

While the rates are now up for a vote, the report further highlights that future rates can be influenced by a number of different factors — from financial projection risks to an increase in incurred debt and inflation.

The proposed rate increase may be higher than inflation, said Mayes, but it is what’s needed for new facilities and projects.

Click to play video: 'City of Winnipeg pauses water and sewer rate hikes'

City of Winnipeg pauses water and sewer rate hikes

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