Callander’s water rates on the rise

Callander council plans to pass the 2023 water budget during their meeting on February 28th. Spoiler alert, the rates are rising. Expect to see a 2.1 per cent increase in your water bill throughout the year. This rate hike is identical to last year’s increase which was also 2.1 percent.

This is no coincidence, as back in 2019 the town adopted a Financial Plan, and soon after implemented an Asset Management Plan. These plans outlined strategies for rehabilitating old infrastructure within the municipality, including water and sewer.

See: Callander raises water and sewer rates for 2022

In 2020, the Water Financial Plan was adopted, which recommended an annual increase in the water levy of 2.1 per cent, and that rate is in place until 2026. However, with most things costing more, staff “anticipate reviewing the rates in greater detail this year,” municipal staff noted, to see if 2.1 per cent increases are “in the best interest of the municipality.”

For perspective, 2.1 per cent amounts to an additional nineteen cents per cubic meter of water, which is about 1,000 litres or 264 gallons. The average Ontario household uses about 230 cubic meters of water per year. This nineteen cents accounts for both water and sewer combined.

The municipal water treatment facility and lagoons will need upgrading within the next few years, which is why this 2.1 per cent annual increase may be increased next year. The Ontario Clean Water Agency manages the facility and after review, some equipment “have deteriorated more quickly than expected,” staff outlined. This year, the Clean Water Agency suggests putting aside $150,000 for capital replacements.

This year, it will cost the municipality an estimated $1.45 million to operate water and sewer systems and infrastructure in Callander. The majority of this—around $604,000—is allocated for materials and supplies.

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,