Installation of water meters is still ongoing throughout Castlegar. The city hopes to have meters installed in all homes this year so that a new metered water rate structure can be put into place. To date 2301 meters have been installed with 213 remaining. A large number of the remaining installations are those that have been deemed the most difficult to install.
A decision was made to extend the original three year contract with Corix Utilities another year in order to see the project finished. Councilor Bruno Tassone voted against the measure, “The reason that I opposed it was that I thought it should have gone to tender and not just be handed out. Maybe a community business person may have wanted to bid on it,” he explained.
Some costs have been higher than the original estimates which date back to 2011. Primarily the original estimate of meters that would need to be installed in outdoor pits was put at 180. The actual number is closer to 450. Outdoor pit installations are more than double the cost of indoor installations due to the increased time they take to complete.
The original contract was valued at $1,190,000. The extension sets rates for indoor installations at the 2013 level of $584 per install. The rate for outdoor installs has been increased from $972 to $1298 per install. The rationale for the increase is that the original pricing was from 2011 and many of the remaining outdoor installs are being found down town in older areas where conditions are more confined and costlier to dig.
There are 132 residences that have either refused a meter or failed to respond to at least 3 attempts to contact the owner. These users will be billed a flat rate that is higher than the flat rate users with meters are being billed. If they choose to move to a meter in the future they will be personally responsible for the costs of installation.
All meters installed use Sensus technology. The city has a vehicle mounted reading system that enables all meters to be read in under four hours.