Town council considers potentials on wireless water meter holdouts

Town council looking at nine hard refusals for wireless water meter installations.

There are nine hard refusals for the acceptance of the wireless Neptune water meters that were installed in most Ponoka homes last year and town councillors are considering what their next steps should be on the matter.

Betty Quinlan, director of corporate services for the Town of Ponoka told council Tuesday, May 19 during a committee of the whole meeting that there are also 28 property owners that town staff have been unable to reach over the matter, what she called “soft refusals.”

Councillors read over some of the clauses in the town’s Water Rates Bylaw to determine the legality of changing out the old water meters.

Quinlan wanted to let councillors know that administration will have to take some steps to get the job done. An extreme case would be to turn off the water and the bylaw provides four reasons why that is possible:

• Repairs

• Want of supply

• Non-payment of accounts

• In any other case in which council deems it advisable

While the water meters are in a person’s property, they belong to the town, advised Quinlan and staff have the legal right to make a change. Clause 10 of the bylaw states:

“Whenever the Town wishes to repair or remove a measuring device, an authorized employee of the Town may enter the premises on which same is situate and repair or remove such measuring device and may cause any damage necessary to effect such removal or repair.”

At their Oct. 14 2014, meeting council voted against giving residents options, something that other municipalities have done as well. Quinlan said the Town of Innisfail did not provide options and the entire community has fully switched to wireless water meters.

Mayor Rick Bonnett said he hoped common sense would prevail in this situation as the vast majority of residents have accepted the change. He wondered if there were any other options for the community.

However, Coun. Loanna Gulka said council has already voted on no options. Coun. Marc Yaworski agreed. “The new ones should be put in.”

Coun. Carla Prediger added that extreme decisions such as turning off the water do not make sense and she hopes there is a way to deal with the issue.

As committee of the whole meetings are for information, no decisions are made.

Administration options for gym club irrelevant

Information from Alberta Municipal Affairs has cleared that the options given by the administration to the town council on the gym club land were irrelevant.

Council was given two options by administration to give the club a lease or to transfer the title with a $160,000 payment if the land is sold.

Mayor Bonnett said an informal consultation with municipal affairs had clarified that options were not required because the council had already approved a land exchange with Ponoka County to give two-acres to the gym club.

“We need to finish this off and get it done,” said Bonnett.