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Bowden council agrees to regional water business plan

Bowden town council passed the Mountain View Regional Water Services Commission business plan as well as the rates that accompanied the plan on March 14 at its regular council meeting.

Bowden town council passed the Mountain View Regional Water Services Commission business plan as well as the rates that accompanied the plan on March 14 at its regular council meeting.

The rate the water commission charges member municipalities will be raised from the current $1.20 per cubic metre to $1.33 per cubic metre beginning in 2012, when the commission must start paying back the amortized amount of $33 million for the project.

The motions were passed after receiving presentations from Rick Blair, chair of the MVRWSC and John VanDoesburg, chief administrative officer of the MVRWSC.

Blair told councillors that Didsbury and Carstairs had already passed the plan. He said other commission members — Olds, Innisfail, Crossfield and Bowden need to pass the plan by March 31 so that the project can move in tandem with the wastewater line, which will begin construction by this summer from Innisfail to Bowden.

“The timing of this is very important. We have to get the business plan passed,” he said.

Robb Stuart, mayor of Bowden, said originally town councillors were concerned about the amount of money the commission would have to borrow to fund the project, but recent news by the provincial government that it would be funding $10 million of the projected $43-million project has eased councillors' concerns.

“The main thing was the rates. This year we are already putting a 20-cent increase (on rates charged by the commission to municipalities) … and the old business plan had (rates) moving up every year, so now it's going to go up next year and it's supposed to flat-line (after),” he said.

Stuart said because the town is also awaiting the business plan for the wastewater line, which will be moving in tandem with the water line.

“We are still waiting to see what the business plan will be of the wastewater (line) will be, because that will impact … the taxpayers on their utility rates. So we're trying to keep both the utility rates as low as possible,” he said.

Stuart said the town still wants to keep rates affordable for residents. Towns can set their own rates to recover costs they must pay for water, so the end user may end up paying more than the $1.33 per cubic metre that the commission charges the towns for water. Stuart said the town will be working to inform residents about using rain water and conserving so that residents pay as little as possible for their potable water.

“The Town of Bowden is going to work very energetically on water conservation policy and we're going to try to inform town residents on rain water (and other measures),” he said.

"The timing of this is very important. We have to get the business plan passed."Rick Blair, chair, Mountain View Regional Water Services Commission