Water Rates

In 2012, the GBID began work on a Long Term Financial Plan and Asset Replacement Schedule.  Working with an independent expert, JP Joly of Econics (formerly with Aquavic Water Solutions), and together with our administrator, water operator, trustees and historical information, we have succeeded in putting our finances into a comprehensive model that will continually help us plan for the future.

A .pdf copy of the Infrastructure Funding Report can be seen here:

GBID 2012 Infrastructure Funding Report

The challenges faced in Gillies Bay are not limited to Gillies Bay, or British Columbia.  These are problems that water systems are facing all over Canada, as well as the rest of the world.

Canada’s rates for water are some of the cheapest in the world.  In 2009, our national average rate for water, per litre, was around $0.35.  Countries with similar water resources (such as Europe) charged up to $2.20 per litre.  Please see the University of Victoria’s report for information on Conservation-Oriented Water Pricing in Canada.

Clean, safe, potable water distribution costs a great deal of money.  The requirements in BC are consistent in every community, whether you live in Victoria or Gillies Bay.  Water is our most precious resource, and clean water is only going to become more expensive.  We must take conservation measures to avoid fresh water shortages.

Our previous rates in Gillies bay did not accommodate the cost of asset renewal and replacement, or capital projects.  Almost every pipe and fitting that is currently in the ground, will be in need of replacement in the near future.

For more information on water pricing in BC, please follow this link. 

The annual water consumption in Gillies Bay averages around 160,000 cubic metres.  West Shore communities in the Victoria area (CRD) pay $1.50 per cubic metre.  Each household in Gillies Bay would pay $1057.27 per year, at a rate of $1.50/cubic metre.  As with many things on Texada, we pay extra due to our remote location.  We must add freight (including ferries) to every piece of equipment we buy.  We have to add a Dangerous Goods fee to every pallet of chlorine.  It is not cheap to live or provide services on Texada, and we must be prepared to subsidize these expenses ourselves, or lobby the government for help.

The GBID has drafted a boilerplate letter which will be available to every resident on Texada via the December 2012 issue of the Express Lines as well as here on our website.  You need only sign it and mail it – the rest has been done for you.  There are almost 300 Improvement Districts and Irrigation Districts in British Columbia.  Each Improvement District is facing the same problem: 40 or 50-year-old infrastructure in need or renewal and replacement, and no access to grants or external funding.  Now is the time to act, and unite as one voice, as we approach the BC Government and ask them to do the right thing; give to us the same support that they give to every Regional District and Municipality in this province.

The costs of delaying this rate increase are too great.  This system requires an aggressive rate strategy to keep up with the demands of an antiquated infrastructure.  Not only would a delay slow down repairs, which could ultimately escalate to become serious problems; but it could also take the momentum out of an opportunity to leverage a precedent which has been set by the BC Government, in Sicamous.  Sicamous received $50,000 from the BC Government for water quality.  What makes Sicamous more important than Texada?

The letter we have drafted is purposed to allow the GBID (and others like us) to apply for and secure grant money, like any other small local government.  It also asks that Improvement Districts have access to the same affordable insurance options as the rest of the province; and it recommends two bulk-purchasing strategies that could greatly benefit any small community.  Again, we urge rate-payers to circulate this letter to all residents on Texada Island as this is not just a Gillies Bay problem.

AquaVic’s Report indicates the funding requirement for fully funding asset renewal and replacement over the long term as quoted below:

In the case of GBID, asset renewal may be sufficiently funded over the next 25 years without the need to borrow. This could be achieved by setting an ACFAR (Annual Contribution for Asset Replacement) of $130,000, with annual increases of 2% after that. This requires an additional $445/parcel per year (292 parcels). Current parcel tax rates for GBID are $188/parcel. Current tolls are $400 per year for residential connection and $800 per year for commercial and multifamily connection.

The GBID Board of Trustees went to the October 23rd 2012 meeting with the initial intention of raising rates to $375/year to sufficiently fund asset renewal for the long term, without the need to borrow. Concerns at the meeting were heard, and considered by the Board.  It was then decided that rates would increase by $225.00 per parcel in 2013.  For 2014 onward, per parcel rates will increase by 4% annuyally.

The costs of borrowing to maintain infrastructure is counterproductive, and rates would be increased as much (or more) to accomodate interest on debt financing.

The Board or Trustees understands the impact this rate increase will have on many households; they are rate-payers too.  The deadline for taxes has been extended from March 31st to July 31st to allow more time for payment.  Please do not hesitate to contact the office, if you need to make payment arrangements.   Our phone number is 604-223-7757 or you can email the Administrator directly at admin@gillies-bay.ca