A lot of people advocate “user pay” – that is, if you use something you should pay for it. That is difficult for a public beach but is implemented for some roads using tolls. It is also normal for electricity, gas and water use. In many municipalities and certainly in Cobourg, your sewer usage is also “user pays”. But since there is no way to measure waste water, the amount of waste water consumed is assumed to be directly related to the water usage as measured by your water meter. This is true as long as you don’t use a lot of water on your garden or lawn. In that case it gets absorbed and does not show up in the sewer.
One citizen of Cobourg, Suzanne Morrow, has written to council asking for a “waste water rate bylaw exemption” since she has a lawn irrigation system and its “water does not go back in the system”. Her suggestion is a second water meter to be used just for the lawn irrigation system. She says that her irrigation company informed her recently that a number of his customers in Peterborough have installed a second water meter at their houses to handle their irrigation water.”
If she is willing to pay for the second meter, then I have to ask: “why not?”
When the letter came to Council on April 8, Brian Darling asked that her letter be referred to Environmental Services for a report and that they respond back within 60 days – that is, by June 3, 2019.
I suspect that Suzanne is not the only one bothered by this – especially when they get large water/sewage bills in the summer.
Letter from Suzanne Morrow (on Cobourg portal)
At the Committee of the Whole Council meeting on May 13, Council voted to deny the exemption requested although they asked that the relevant By-Law be reviewed with perhaps an option to install a water meter for irrigation/sprinkler systems.