Why did the Town of White City not create it's own water utility and what will happen to water rates in Emerald Park?
Currently, White City operates its water and sewer services as a self-funded utility, meaning property taxes are not used to subsidize water and sewer rates and utility surpluses are not used to subsidize municipal property taxes. White City purchases treated water from SaskWater at a negotiated rate. This was the result of a decision by Council in 2003 to transfer the Town’s risk and liability of providing safe drinking water to SaskWater. SaskWater is a provincial agency that has the expertise and knowledge to assure that the Town’s water is safe to drink. The decision of Council came after the Walkerton Water Crisis in 2000 where 7 people died and 2,300 became ill and the 2001 North Battleford Water Crisis where 700 people became sick from drinking contaminated municipal water. Walkerton’s compensation to victims totalled $72 million, while North Battleford’s compensation totaled $3.3 million. Using SaskWater’s expertise and recognized water treatment procedures/best practices, White City residents can be assured that their drinking water is monitored 24 hours a day and is safe to drink.
In the Town’s proposal for One Community with One Voice, three options for the future of providing water service to an integrated community are identified:
- The possibility to create a Water Works Utility run independently of the Town, like the WCRM158 WasteWater Utility by absorbing the White City and Emerald Park water distribution and treatment systems. The systems to treat and supply water is owned and operated by the Water Works Utility. The Utility will determine water rates, establish quality standards, ensure there is sufficient supply of treated water to the growing community as well as operate and maintain the systems on a daily basis;
- The absorption of the RM water treatment plant into the new integrated community. Rates will remain as they currently are for both municipalities and each plant would be treated as its own separate utility; or
- The RM retains ownership of the water treatment plant and continues to provide treated water to Emerald Park and the business area it currently services. It is important to mention that as the RM has stated the water treatment plant is not subsidized by taxes there should be no reason why the water rates would increase. There is a regulatory process for rates to be approved by the Saskatchewan Municipal Board to ensure that rates are not excessive.
The important note to highlight is that in these scenarios, residents would be receiving their water from the same treatment plant or distribution plant that they do currently, that includes private wells for potable water. Residents in Emerald Park would not be forced to connect to the treatment plant currently operated by SaskWater in White City.
While the Town’s Annexation proposal provides three options for the supply of water to the integrated community, there may be more options considered when the RM and the Town meet to negotiate the terms of the annexation.
More Frequently Asked Questions
- How is White City Administration preparing for potential annexation?
- I have a private well on my property, will I have to connect to the town’s water system if we become one community?
- White City and Emerald Park handle on-street parking differently. What will happen if we become one community?
- How much is the annexation proposal and application to the SMB going to cost?
- Has there been any consideration given for the residents and businesses located in Emerald Park, due to the fact that tax dollars have already paid for infrastructure and development once and well be expected to pay for it a second time if this annexation goes ahead?