In an about face, town council has given the go-ahead for administration to provide residents with manual water readings besides a wireless water meter.
During the council’s regular meeting Tuesday, Aug. 9, a few concerned residents, who also spoke during the open forum, heard they will now be able to speak with town planners on having a system similar to the one used before the wireless system was installed.
There are currently seven hard holdouts on the wireless system.
In speaking with companies like ATCO Gas and EPCOR, the town was able to determine they use a manual reading with cost-recovery system, explained Dave McPhee, director of operations and property services.
A few options were provided to council with the first using a radio mounted meter outside of the building at a one time cost of $250. Similar to that a new radio transmitter could be installed outside of the property line with a wire trenched or run overhead to the building at a one-time cost of $700.
A second option, said McPhee, is to install a manual meter — called non-standard — with a button reader on the outside of the house. This would be a one-time cost of $250 to install and then cost $20 per month to read the meter and an additional $10 per month town administration fee to manually input the data.
One concern voiced by Scott Harley was whether the digital meters recommended as an option, would not have a radio transmitter in them. Greg Nelson, a resident who has been fairly vocal about his concern with radio and wireless signals, asked for even less checks on the water system. He asked if a bi-annual check would work.
The only issue with that, said McPhee, is the town has to pay and report water use monthly to the province. Sandra Lund, director of corporate services, suggested that some residents will phone in their water meter readings. Confirmation of the data will still need to occur, however, showing the need for manual checks.
McPhee added that as the meters have a limited life of use, the town would still like to replace the old meters with manual meters when a resident picks an option.
CAO Albert Flootman said he expects there to be some residents who will want to go back to the old system now that council has approved options.
Harvey was against both options and stated as much during the council discussion. He offered to send a picture of his water meter readings monthly to the town.
Coun. Carla Prediger made the motion to approve the second option of manual readings with the one-time cost of $250 and a total of $30 per month in manual checks and administration fees. She suggests residents have options they did not have before, something she and Coun. Loanna Gulka wanted to see from the beginning.
Council voted unanimously in favour of the motion. Councillors Tim Falkiner and Marc Yaworski were not in attendance.
The story related to water meter options on page 2 of the Aug. 17 edition of Ponoka News is incorrect when it states Coun. Carla Prediger made the motion to approve a second option for residents. That is incorrect; Prediger made the motion to offer customers the two alternative metering options provided by administration. The installation costs are clarified to be a one-time fee. We regret the error.