Controversy regarding the Neptune water meters continues to breed within town, causing town council to further contemplate options for those refusing the new wireless radio technology.
Despite disagreements among councilors, a proposal to give Ponoka residents additional options reached second reading at the Monday, Sept. 22 regular meeting. And council agrees all water meters should be changed because the currently running models are not as efficient.
Residents’ first option is to follow the town’s original plan and allow their water meter to be changed for Neptune’s wireless meter.
Option two is to accept the meter but the radio transmitter will be mounted outside the residence, rather than inside. This option comes with a one-time cost of $210.
The third option is to accept the new water meter without the wireless radio portion. A $210 one-time cost will be charged as well as a monthly reading fee of $75.
There has been hostility against Neptune since the news broke of the new meters being installed and a letter read at council mentioned residents refusing anything that has to do with the new meters will take a stand and defend their property. “Should we put our employees at risk?” Coun. Tim Falkiner asked council.
Dave McPhee, director of operations and property services, said there had already been two hard refusals and three to six others inquiring about the options.
It was stated that, for the hard refusals, the town may have to take residents to court to get a meter installed under any of the options.
McPhee says those refusing are doing so on personal perception. “Some look at it like I don’t want you on my property because it’s my property.”
“I’m starting to feel like this is a circus show . . . why can’t we do the job, get it done and move on?” said Coun. Sandra Lyon.
However, Betty Quinlan, acting CAO at the time, felt the situation was getting better. “It’s really settled down. It’s going along, in my mind, as it should have.”
She added many people who originally refused have repented. “It’s just the fear of the unknown.”
In order to get proceedings underway, Coun. Terri Underhill made a motion to include the options as part of the bylaw at its first reading and then she opposed the options alongside Falkiner.
Prediger took the issue to second reading, again Underhill and Falkiner were opposed. When it came time to make the motion to go to third and final reading, Coun. Loanna Gulka, who was participating via speakerphone, opposed to giving council time to gather more information. There was no decision as to when and if a third reading of the bylaw is to be scheduled.
Correction: The story headlined “Still no official options for new smart meters” on page 13 mistakenly named Councillor Terri Underhill as voting against the motions in the first and second readings alongside Councillor Tim Falkiner. The councillor who voted against the motion in both cases alongside Councillor Falkiner was Sandra Lyon. We apologize for the error.