ANTIGONISH: The Municipality of the County of Antigonish has made an application to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (UARB) for an order authorizing and approving a new schedule of rates and charges for water and water services.

On behalf of the existing two water utilities, the Fringe Area and Lower South River and Area, the municipality has applied to amalgamate them into one utility named the Antigonish County Water Utility.

According to the municipality’s application with the UARB, the changes come as set out in the water rate study prepared by G.A. Isenor Consulting Ltd. in association with Blaine S. Rooney Consulting Ltd.

For the proposed Antigonish County Water Utility, for a 5/8-inch residential customer, the average bi-monthly water bill is proposed to increase from $73.56 to $81.69, an 11 per cent increase in 2021-22. For the other metered services, the proposed average bi-monthly water bill amendments range from 50.5 per cent to 39.3 per cent. The unmetered rate is proposed to increase by 3.6 per cent.

The following year, in 2022-23, for a 5/8-inch residential customer, the average bi-monthly water bill is proposed to increase from $81.69 to $83.97, a 2.8 per cent increase. For the other metered services, the proposed average bi-monthly water bill increases range from 3.6 per cent to 4.2 per cent. The unmetered rate is proposed to increase by 3.8 per cent.

It is proposed that the utility will be fully metered in 2022-23.

Amendments are further proposed to the public fire protection charge to the municipality. The current annual fire protection charges of the existing water utilities of the Fringe Area and Lower South River and Area have a combined total of $302,414.

It is proposed to increase to $416,630 – a 37.8 per cent increase in 2020-21; $461,969 – a 10.9 per cent increase in 2021-22; and $487,695 – a 5.6 per cent increase in 2022-23.

The application will be heard in a public hearing on October 21 at 10:30 a.m. in council chambers. Depending on the circumstances related to COVID-19, the public hearing may be held via videoconference and/or teleconference.

Individuals looking to speak at the hearing must notify the UARB by October 15, and any resident requesting formal standing as an intervener – this will allow someone to present evidence or cross-examine witnesses – will be subject to UARB approval.

A request must be received by the UARB by August 14 and a copy of the written evidence is due by September 15.

Written comments can be sent to the Clerk of the Board at P.O. Box 1692, Unit “M”, Halifax, NS B3J 3S3, or by e-mail at: board@novascotia.ca, or by fax at (902) 424-3919 by October 15.