Kenora resident Janice McDonald says that seniors need help from city hall. A gallery full of upset seniors outlined their concerns about water rates before Kenora councillors this morning.

“I feel very strongly about living in Kenora. I’ve lived here all of my life. I want to remain here, but in order to do that, I think the city has to step up to the plate and offer a few breaks for senior citizens. Living in Kenora is not always a financially-viable situation for a lot of people. I feel for everybody, not just for the senior citizens.”

The city says that they are working on a response to the seniors' concerns. 

Water bills are set to increase by 5.5 per cent in 2019. The new rates will come into effect on January 1, 2019. The 2019 increase follows the recent 2018 increase. Effective January 1, the city increased water and wastewater rates by eight per cent for all residential and commercial consumers. The water cost is set at $1.43 per cubic meter, or per 1,000 litres.

The city says the increase will allow the city to continue replacing existing assets, begin to address the infrastructure deficit and improve revenue stability.

This year's rate together, with the fixed cost and wastewater cost, will change an average monthly bill for residential consumption from $117.68 to $127.22. The average bill is based on an average of 15 cubic metres of water.

Councillors were hoping to receive additional grants and funding to help offset repeated rate increases, which were suggested by a report on the sustainable sewer and water system for Kenora.

By provincial law, water and sewer ratepayers in the city are responsible for bills associated with the system, making it a user-pay model. This makes it more equitable for those property owners, who are outside of the system, and they're using wells and septic systems instead.

For more information:
Water, waste budgets detailed

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