Council Chambers were packed with resident attending yesterday's Committee of the Whole meeting to support Don Parfitt and Wes Siemens as they presented delegations opposing the new increase to Multi Use Water Rates.

In 2019, the increase will be implemented, which would see each building of 4 or more units, condominiums, life leases, 55 plus and similar usage buildings, where the building is serviced by a single water meter, be charged based on the number of units within the building and each unit charged the sewer and water rate for individual homes (approximately $85).

Siemens says that would make his sewer and water bill jump from $16,769.16 to $50,531.76.

“A local landloard did a comparison. He took three types of buildings. Building one is a single family house, building two is his 10 plex, building three is my 36 unit we just talked about. If you look down the building three column currently, over the last 12 month, my sewer and water charges were $16,000 for the year. The new bylaw, it's fully implemented, will be over $50,000," he explained.

The 10 plex in the comparison is paid $3,302.16 for sewer and water in 2018, and will pay $12,08 5.68 once the bylaw is in effect.

The intention is to phase the new fees in over the next 5 years. Under the phasing in process building owners would be charged a 20 per cent increase in 2019, with the goal of reaching 100 per cent by 2023. New builds would also be required to have individually metered units

Landlords also cannot pass the cost on to current tenants. The Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board 2018 guideline prevents rent increases of more then 1.8 per cent over a 12 month period.

Parfitt and Siemens were also quick to point out that increasing rent isn’t a fix-all solution. With affordable housing an issue in the city, increasing rent prices would only make the issue worse.

“If you have listened to everything that was said today and still go ahead with this, then this is on council 2018. You either care about affordable housing in Kenora or you don't" said Siemens.

Council did not ask questions following the delegations.

Council's stance has been, and remains, that they are trying to make costs fair for the whole community. 

Mayor Reynard commented that he and council have been given a lot to think about.

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