Invermere sewer rates bylaw nears completion

Council briefs from the District of Invermere's February 12th (Tuesday) council meeting


Increases to monthly sewer service rates are coming down the pipeline, as Invermere council passed second and third reading of a sewer rates bylaw at their February 12 (Tuesday) meeting.

Monthly flat fees for one bedroom suites will cost $18.09 per unit, while single family residences, apartments or duplexes will each cost $35.92.

When a new connection is made to the sanitary sewerage, the charges imposed under the new bylaw will take effect at the start of the month which the sewer service is provided, and will be pro-rated on a daily basis. A 5 per cent penalty will be added to the outstanding balance of unpaid rates the day after they become due and payable.

Disconnection from or reconnection to the Athalmer vacuum sewer system, whether by request or under stipulations in the bylaw, will cost $50 plus GST for each customer.

Win for absent ex-councillor

After making a strong case at the January 22 meeting, Buzz Harmsworth’s argument paid off for local farmers. Bylaw 1462, the new water utility rates bylaw, was also given second and third reading, including a provision to charge a $75 agricultural standpipe fee just once a year, instead of twice.

“Buzz finally wins one and he’s not here to see it,” noted Mayor Gerry Taft.

Thwarted attempt to raise property tax late fees

Despite a staff recommendation to align Invermere with other B.C. communities by raising the late fees on property taxes to 10 per cent, the district is choosing to stick with its 1.5 per cent late fee on property taxes filed after the July deadline.

Mayor Gerry Taft saw merit in raising the fee, which would encourage more ratepayers to file on time. Other councillors cited Invermere as a tourist community where many businesses rely on mid-summer income to balance the costs for the rest of the year, and argued against raising the fee.

Taft proposed raising the fee from 1.5 per cent to five per cent. His motion was opposed by the other three councillors. (Coun. Greg Anderson was not in attendance.)

Downtown parking review discussion

The Downtown Parking Strategy was adopted, with an implementation plan slated to be integrated into the district’s 20-year capital plan.

During discussion, councillors agreed that heavy downtown traffic could be mitigated with better promotion of the Lakeview parking lot, which is the large lot found behind the hockey rink.

Councillor Spring Hawes said she’d like to see Invermere do away with diagonal parking spaces. She acknowledged the complexities that would ensue, but said she’d prefer to see parallel parking.

You can’t win ‘em all

During discussion regarding  dollars the district will at some point require for road repairs, Taft noted people will complain about potholes while also complaining about higher taxes.

“Its our job to find balance,” he said.