• James Armstrong

Tariffs for Hudson water and sewage services put pressure on seniors’ rents


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

Le Manoir Cavagnal, Hudson’s only seniors’ apartment complex, is facing rent increases due to water and sewage tariffs.

Although Hudson residents are not facing an increase in water and sewage tariffs in 2018, the level of those rates create an unacceptable burden for local seniors according to Le Manoir Cavagnal’s General Manager, Nicole Durand.

“Our apartments are for veterans and other seniors of low to moderate income. We had to raise the rent in 2017 but it wasn’t enough to cover the costs,” she said. The annual water tariff is $136.96 and the sewage service is $169.47.

Durand reminded Mayor Jamie Nicholls during the budget presentation on Monday, January 29 that she had communicated her concerns to council by e-mail in early December asking for a reduction in rates. The mayor responded that council would consider her request at their next caucus meeting.

Application of water and sewage tariffs

“It’s not fair because we are a not-for-profit,” Durand told The Journal. Le Manoir Cavagnal, currently Hudson’s only seniors’ residence, operates as a private non-profit organization under the auspices of the Lakeshore Legion Housing Association.

She said the residence no longer receives federal financial subsidies but does have support at the provincial level from the Société d’habitation Québec (SHQ) for 29 residents. Durand said the support for 2018 from the province has not yet been confirmed. The government subsidy program was based on a 35-year agreement made in 1979 shortly after the building opened, according to Durand.

Consumption rates

“These are small apartments ranging in size from 380 to 770 square-feet. Out of the 88 apartments, 68 are one-bedroom units of 500 square-feet,” she said making the point that the residents pay the same tariff as larger homes in Hudson. Durand was a member of the previous town council that raised the tariffs in 2017.

“I was in a difficult spot. We (Le Manoir) didn’t have a president to be spokesperson at the time, so nothing was done,” she said. Durand is currently working on the 2018 budget for Le Manoir and said rents will have to go up to cover associated costs. “We raised them in 2017 to cover the cost, but it wasn’t enough,” she said.

Durand also said Le Manoir had installed a water meter in a section of the residence that includes 52 apartments, laundry room, guest washrooms and kitchen. “For 2017, the water consumption rate was 119 litres per day, per apartment,” said Durand adding the information was being provided to the town. She compared the consumption results to another similar residence in a neighbouring community. “They used anywhere from 257 to 450 litres per person per day,” she said.

Town response

Fred Aronson, President of the Lakeshore Legion Housing Association, brought the issue to the attention of Hudson Town Council at their regular monthly meeting held Monday, February 5.

“We intended to discuss that at our caucus meeting for this (council) meeting, but there wasn’t time,” replied Mayor Jamie Nicholls. “We will do that at the next caucus.” The mayor, in an interview following the council meeting, said if the water tariff is applied fairly, it has to be based on consumption, which means installing water meters. “There have been discussions about water meters in the past, many times. We will continue the discussion,” said Nicholls noting the discussions had focused on installation in the commercial sector first.

Hudson Treasurer Claudia Ouellette confirmed she had received the consumption rate information from Durand. “It’s a situation we are looking at to find a solution,” Ouellette said following the council meeting.

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