Municipality gives free water to contractors

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The Municipality of Merrickville-Wolford has been supplying potable water to construction tanker trucks free of charge.

Mayor David Nash brought the issue to the attention of council at the meeting of August 27, 2018. He says he noticed several tanker trucks being filled up over the summer from companies contracted to do work on County Road 15 and Collar Hill. David says that when he asked the former Manager of Public Works, Dave Powers about it, he was informed that the companies were not being charged for the water.

“There is no reason we should be giving water away for work on a county road,” David says. “I couldn’t believe we were doing that.”

David says he believes the contractors should be billed for the water they received from the municipality. The revenue could be used to offset the extremely high water rates in the municipality which are a constant sore spot for residents.

Council has directed staff to look into how much water has been given to the construction companies this summer and work on a model where they could charge for any bulk water they supply for projects outside municipal jurisdiction. “As part of a review like this, we typically examine our existing policy and practices to determine how they should be charged,” says Interim CAO Doug Robertson. Deputy Mayor Anne Barr also suggested they contact the company that manages their water system, OCWA, for comment on how giving this water away has impacted the system.

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