While it’s nothing to be proud of and something I resent inheriting as a recent councillor, Kitchener, like other Ontario cities, has major infrastructure pains caused by rapidly rotting water and sewer pipes.
And it’s blatantly obvious that unless council becomes very proactive about addressing these issues, our children and grandchildren will be stuck with multi-million-dollar water-sewage debts that are already decades old.
Which is why, during current budget sessions, I will support very distasteful tax increases for water, sewage and storm-water management that this year include 7.6 per cent for water, 10.8 per cent for sewage and 9.2 per cent for storm-water management. I will also support similar hikes in coming years in order to play catch up with such a huge maintenance problem.
Afters being briefed by staff on the size of the issue, I support recommended tax increases for reasons that include the following:
· I have always believed that water, sewage and other municipal services have been, and will continue to be, an incredible bargain. In this case, the proposed hikes involve roughly $90 a year for the average Kitchener household or, if you prefer, $7.50 a month, $1.80 a week or about 25 cents a day.
· Increases would help address an issue that certain suck-and-blow Kitchener councillors (check our recorded council votes) pandering to voters and media strokes have, for years, stuffed their heads in the municipal sand and ignored the worsening problem.
· Kitchener will be more prepared to go ahead with projects that could attract infrastructure cash promised by the new federal government.
· Projects will provide local jobs.
All of which were conveniently ignored in a predictably shallow, sky-is-falling rant by Luisa D’amato in The Waterloo Region Record which, in a very appropriate way, starts with everyone flushing their toilets.
Too bad toilets and sewers can’t digest newsprint and opinion columns.