There may be one more option for the five wireless water meter holdouts in the Town of Ponoka.
About four years ago the town undertook to replacing all of its manual water meters with a wireless meter for all homes. There was a backlash from a small group within the community that caused not all homes to have the new meters.
In 2015 council made the motion that residents’ water supplies would be disconnected if they did not accept the new meters. Then in May 2016 council was provided the possibility to work with the hard hold outs.
At that time there was a refusal to work on replacing the meters due to concerns for the safety of town staff from some hold outs. A motion was made by town council to give them another option.
At its Aug. 9, 2016 meeting, at this point there were seven hard holdouts, council was provided with a few more options with a manual reader being chosen. There would be a button reader outside of the home at a one time cost of $250, plus $30 per month for administration and reading fees.
Council voted in favour of the manual option.
There are now five holdouts on the water meter install.
Chris McKenna, the new director of operations and property services, told council Sept. 26 during the regular meeting that there is one more option, but it costs $1,000, and will fall to the homeowner to pay.
That option is to put a meter on the curb stop, which is on town right of way.
A letter was intended to go out to those five residents stating their water will be shut off unless they comply with the previous option, but this new proposal would mean that would not have to occur.
Coun. Marc Yaworski asked what the town would have to do if the water meter breaks. If the meter fails it may be a responsibility of the town despite these residents not letting town staff into their homes.
McKenna added that some of these houses probably do need a new curb stop anyways.
Coun. Carla Prediger pointed out that the town agreed to negotiate with residents who have since refused to negotiate. She pointed out that this is a further choice that the town is working on for these residents.
CAO Albert Flootman said this could resolve the problem because the meter would be on the road allowance. He said an adjustment to the utility bylaw could be made to allow for the town to charge it to the homeowners’ taxes if they fail to pay.
“This would deal with the hard refusals once and for all,” said Flootman.
Council approved the motion to provide residents with this latest option.