Hosing down snow waste of tax dollars, Corner Brook mayor says

Hosing down snow waste of tax dollars, Corner Brook mayor says

Some people in Corner Brook do it every spring, but the mayor has had his fill of people spraying water to melt the snowbanks on their lawns.

Charles Pender's frustration spilled over on social media when he tweeted, "If I see one more person with their hose running in the snow, I'm going to lose it!"

Pender said people need to consider how expensive drinking water is, especially now that Corner Brook has invested in a new treatment plant.

Money in the (snow) bank

Pender was on his way to City Hall recently, when he noticed several residents and a business owner with their hoses turned on, watering down the snow.

"We [taxpayers] pay for it, it's a precious resource. People in Newfoundland and Labrador and around the world would love to have the quality of water we have," he toldCBC's Corner Brook Morning Show.

"Not letting Mother Nature take care of [the snow] is such a waste."

Pouring dollars down the drain

Corner Brook pays about $1.5 million a year just to treat its drinking water with chlorine and other chemicals, Pender said.

While usage has gone down in recent years to 23 million litres a day — from a peak of about 30 million litres — the more water that's used, the more it costs taxpayers.

Then, said Pender, there are also the costs of maintaining the pipes, pumphouses and other infrastructure, due to wear-and-tear on the system.

His concerns come amid extra investment in Corner Brook's drinking water in recent years.

In 2015, the City opened a a new, $50-million water treatment plant, of which Corner Brook paid close to half. Pender pointed out that the money has to be paid back.

Leading a hose user to water?

Corner Brook's water is not metered, partly due to the cost of installing meters on every home, so residents don't have to pay by the litre. This may lead some of them to believe they're getting the water for free.

Pender said there was plenty of response on Facebook to his comments and said 99.9 percent of people agreed that hosing the snowbanks "is a waste."

But there were people who "hadn't gotten the message," he said, and figure they're paying their set rate for water, "so they'll use whatever they want."

Pender said the City will continue to educate people and hope that most people will be reasonable with their taps and hoses. 

"This is one way to ensure your taxes won't go up for the use of water."