New Ste. Anne’s water consumption fees here to stay, says Mayor Hawa
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
Ste. Anne de Bellevue Mayor Paola Hawa said homeowners should start to monitor their water usage and reduce wastage to avoid paying higher consumption fees.
Ste. Anne de Bellevue Mayor Paola Hawa told residents at the Monday evening council meeting, January 18, that now that the city has adopted a water consumption fee schedule based on actual usage, it’s here to stay and homeowners should start to monitor their water usage and reduce wastage to avoid paying higher consumption fees.
Hawa’s remarks were in response to a resident’s comments made during question period that after he received his water consumption bill, the condo owner noticed a sizeable discrepancy in the amount of money being charged, saying he was paying significantly more money for current consumption than when he had a house with a swimming pool.
When asked whether the city would consider looking into what he considered to be an unsubstantiated increase, Hawa replied, “No, absolutely not. As we know, water has become a scarce resource and the city has been subsidizing water consumption for many years. We need to become more careful about what we do with our water because it costs a lot of money.
“When we sent out the water consumption bills this year, we warned our residents that if personal water usage is maintained at the same level, people will pay more for the water they use,” Hawa added. “We’ve given people one year to adjust their water consumption to the reality of today.”
Hawa said that with continuing development and an increasing population base throughout the West Island, demand for water keeps increasing and that people have to start modifying their water consumption habits.
“I think the days of cities subsidizing people with pools, people who insist on spending 20 minutes in the shower and whatever, to the detriment of everybody else and to the detriment of the environment are over,” said Hawa. “If people have the have money to waste on this resource, then so be it – go for it. Even at our current cost, the city is still subsidizing about 40 per cent of the cost of our water. It still does not reflect the actual cost of consumption.”
Hawa said Ste. Anne’s new pay-as-you-go system based on individual consumption is a more practical and equitable system based on actual consumption within each household compared to the City of Montreal’s water consumption rate which is based on property.
“In Montreal, it doesn’t matter if you live in a four-and-a-half rented apartment and take a 40 minute hot shower versus someone who has a mansion, is the only occupant, and does a load of laundry. This person who’s doing one load of laundry is still going to pay more than the person who’s using up the entire resource.
“This is what the Association of Suburban Mayors (ASM) has been fighting for many years,” said Hawa. “The people who use water should be paying for it. If people clean their driveways with a hose for half-an-hour or leave their sprinklers on when it’s raining outside, they need to understand there’s a cost for it and they need to pay. Water is a finite resource.”