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The agenda for this month's ARAC meeting is fairly light as we head into summer, and Scott has some clarification on the water and sewer rate review that residents will want to read.
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Good morning!

This week is going to be fairly busy between committee meetings (including ARAC - more on that below), and the Rural Expo and Food Aid Day this Thursday at City Hall. Come over to Marion Dewar Plaza to enjoy the food, the cow milking contests, and more, as we raise funds for the Ottawa Food Bank. It's always a fun day and an opportunity for us to show off what Ottawa's rural communities have to offer.

For any residents who are concerned about some of what has been said about the water and sewer rate review, please take some time to read the clarification I've included below the details of the ARAC meeting this Friday.

Enjoy your day and the week ahead. If there's anything I can do for you, please hit reply and send me an email or call my office at 613-580-2491. 

Sincerely,

ARAC - June 5, 2015, 10:00am

Ben Franklin Place
101 Centrepointe Drive

View full agenda and supporting documents on Ottawa.ca.

Items on the agenda for this meeting will include:

  • Status Update on Inquiries and Motions
  • 2015-2018 Draft Term of Council Priorities
  • Semi-Annual Performance Report to Council
  • Omnibus Zoning By-Law Amendments
  • Presentation - Rural Residential Land Survey (2013-2014 update)
Once the committee has gotten through the agenda, they will sit as the Court of Revision on the Devine Municipal Drain to receive the engineer's report and for the first sitting under the Drainage Act to hear appeals from landowners who have been assessed. 

ARAC always includes an open mic session at the end of each meeting for anyone who would like to come and speak to any issue. 

Read more about the agenda in Scott's latest column.

Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater Rate Structure Review

At the last Environment Committee on Tuesday, May 19, the City’s Treasurer brought forward a report on the Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater Rate Structure Review. The purpose of this review is to develop more certainty in regard to how much money is collected annually from the water and sewer rate. Only residents who receive water and sewer services have a water and sewer bill. Properties on wells and septic systems do not receive these bills, for obvious reasons. Before explaining a specific portion of this review and how it may impact rural properties,

I want to make it clear that nobody is proposing that residents on wells and septic systems pay anything related to those private services. If you’ve heard rumours to that effect, I assure you that is not going to happen. Nobody is metering your wells. End of story.
 
Onto the matter at hand: storm water management. I imagine this point could be argued, but every property creates storm water runoff. Some properties drain into ditches, some into ponds and some into storm water sewers. At this point, all maintenance of these facilities is paid for by the water and sewer rate budget. Prior to amalgamation, this maintenance was part of the regular tax bill in Goulbourn Township and Rideau Township. For some reason, the transition board overseeing amalgamation moved storm water management from the tax supported budget to the rate supported budget.
 
Since last week, I've heard concerns that this is a way of taxing rural residents to pay for urban infrastructure. That is simply not the case and this is not an urban vs. rural issue.

There are 15,000 properties within the urban area that also do not receive water and sewer bills. Consider a downtown parking lot in terms of storm water runoff. The entire property would instantly drain into storm water sewers but that property owner doesn’t pay a cent toward that maintenance. This review will look at how to appropriately charge a property owner for a benefit they receive.
 
This review is only just beginning and there will be a public consultation component. As a member of Environment Committee, and also as Chair of the Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee, I will be paying close attention to this review and how it could impact residents in the rural area. If you have any questions or concerns about the review, please contact me so that I can address them.

Scott's Recent Columns

City of Ottawa presents plans for managing Wild Parsnip

Summer camp time!

Summertime - development, events, and farmers' markets!

Clarification about water and sewer rates

Wild parsnip is going to be popping up all over Rideau-Goulbourn soon. Visit our website to read about how you can manage it on your property and steps you can take to protect yourself, your family, and pets.

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