Last November Kimberley council voted to increase bulk water rates by 20 per cent next year.
The primary customers of bulk metered water are RCR (snow making), Trickle Creek (irrigation) and Teck.
Bulk water rates in Kimberley had been frozen at $1.18 per 1,000 gallons in 2004 and remained that way until 2017.
At that time, council decided to raise the rates and try to catch up so that tax payers were not subsidizing bulk water rates, and bulk water users were paying their full share.
In previous years, council had opted to raise the rates by 10 per cent, but this year the decision was made for a 20 per cent increase.
At their regular meeting last week, council received a letter from Ted Funston, Area Manager for Kimberley Alpine Resort, objecting to the increase for next year and the ones planned for future years, and saying the increase was “difficult to digest”.
“Please understand that running a business is as challenging as ever these days with costs increasing at a rate that are making it difficult to keep up (government mandated minimum wages increases of up to 45% over the last number of years being another example), and to keep skiing and riding reasonably affordable for our guests, including for the people of Kimberley. This also comes at a time when businesses in general and tourism businesses specifically, including ours, are facing unprecedented challenges and business slowdowns or shutdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Mayor Don McCormick, who had not been in favour of the 20 per cent increase, says that naturally the increase in costs will flow through to the customer.
McCormick also pointed out that it was councils of the day making decisions not to raise the bulk water rates, not the customers asking for it.
“It’s the rate that we are raising it that is the issue,” he said. “In any event the decision has been made for this year, but it will be back for consideration next year.”