Flat rate continues for Jasper utilities

·2 min read

Jasper Municipal Council had a lengthy discussion at their Dec. 1 regular meeting about the options for utility fees in Jasper in 2021, including whether they wanted to set a flat consumption rate or change tiered.

Mayor Richard Ireland said utility fees had been discussed at five meetings and it was time to move ahead and council directed administration to prepare a bylaw that includes a flat consumption rate.

The bylaw will generate about $750,000 of additional revenue, and will include a base rate related to meter size.

The first reading of the utility fees bylaw is scheduled for Dec. 15.

Administration was also directed to bring suggestions to council in the new year, for moving to a tiered consumption rate for 2022.

Support for sidewalk seating

A majority of businesses surveyed in Jasper want patio seating to continue in the upcoming season, Pattie Pavlov, general manager, Jasper Park Chamber of Commerce told council at their regular meeting on Dec. 1, and a decision is needed soon.

There's room for fine-tuning the program that ran last summer. Suggestions from respondents included adding additional bike parking, closing Patricia Street access on the 600 block to all vehicle traffic as far as TGP, and having businesses who want to participate pay all associated costs.

But the general consensus among council members was to get matters moving so businesses can prepare for next year's season.

Ireland said the program was put in place this year "to give businesses the opportunity to survive”.

“In fact, it was spectacularly successful,” he said.

There was discussion about needing more consultation with groups including Tourism Jasper and Community Futures as well as Parks Canada.

Ireland said there needs to be individual business representation as well and pointed out the program is not limited to restaurants.

Overall, council approved of something similar to the pilot program that ran in 2020.

A subsequent program has to be reviewed by the Planning and Development Advisory Committee (PDAC) with Parks Canada. Council hopes okaying a similar program for 2021 will lead to quick approval from Parks Canada.

They're scheduled to make a decision about extended seating and retail areas at their regular meeting on Dec. 15.

Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh