One probably never expected water to be such a divisive issue, but it has become a contentious one in Bashaw.
That’s the big reason town council is moving its regular meeting on Jan. 17 — which gets going at 6 p.m. — to the Bashaw Community Centre as it looks to grapple with how much to charge in 2019 for water usage.
CAO Theresa Fuller explained, at council’s meeting on Dec. 20, the rationale in moving to the larger venue is because of the anticipated number of residents that are likely to show up and want to have their voice heard on the issue.
The majority of council have already publicly expressed their thoughts at that previous council meeting.
Several noted it is likely best to keep the base charge at $25 per month then raising the price to the $2.96 per cubic metre that the commission will charge in 2019. That would be a 32 cent jump from the 2018 subsidized price approved by council in an effort to cushion the blow to residents.
Only one councillor hasn’t expressed his thoughts, but only because Coun. Rob McDonald wasn’t at that meeting.
Water became an issue in late 2016, when the town was slated to finally be hooked up to the Highway 12/21 Regional Water Commission’s line, complete with an expected and dramatic price hike from 90 cents to $2.88 per cubic metre to go along with a change to softer water.
Despite the arguments presented, the town didn’t have much of a choice considering some of the consequences — a half million dollar buyout on top of still having to pay for water for two years and possibly losing provincial grant support for future infrastructure upgrades.