Contractor addresses meter questions

The City of Grand Forks hosted an information session/open house recently, introducing water meter contractor Neptune Technology Group.

There was a good turnout at the city's open house for water meters last Wednesday.

Water meters were the focus of a City of Grand Forks information session/open house Tuesday night at the seniors’ centre.

The open house allowed the city to introduce Neptune Technology Group and their representatives from Mississauga, Ont. to local residents. Neptune was awarded the recent contract to install water meters in Grand Forks.

On hand at the open house were city council members, city staff and Neptune representatives, who answered questions from the public on the installations, which will begin in September.

“The open house went extremely well with great attendance,” said Mayor Brian Taylor. “There were approximately 65 people that came through to ask some great questions and see what the installation process was going to look like.”

Andre Knights, field operations officer for Neptune, said he and his crew enjoyed the hospitality in Grand Forks and getting to meet local residents and answer questions.

Knights said that Neptune has done several projects in B.C. and Alberta, including Kamloops and Richmond.

He said they’ve heard many of the same questions and concerns from residents throughout Canada.

“Every project has its own challenges,” said Knights. “A lot of the questions people have are very common throughout any project we’ve done. We try to ensure we educate people through facts instead of hearsay. We do our best to educate them because we feel it will help resolve their concerns by having open houses, giving them information, and letting them know how the program’s going.”

Knights said they take residents’ concerns seriously.

“We want to make sure homeowners are comfortable and answer all their questions with the most respect and give them all the facts they need to know,” he said.

Knights said there is no concern regarding radiation produced by the water meters.

“These meters are radio frequency and it’s no different than the old cordless phones,” he said.

A reader using a hand-held unit reads the meters from the road. Knights said the unit emits a signal every 14 seconds for a couple of milliseconds at a time.

“For a full day it’s only emitting for a total of 44 seconds if you add it all up,” he said.

Neptune plans on beginning installation of water meters in Grand Forks the first Monday in September.

“We’re going to start on an area-by-area basis,” he said. “We’re going to divide the city into smaller areas because we find that more efficient rather than jumping all over the place.”

Knights says that residents will be receiving information booklets prompting them to book an appointment.

“These booklets will be different than the ones people just got—the orange ones, those ones are strictly information—this one will be a different colour so they can identify it. (The booklet) will have our call centre’s number where they can call and book an appointment. They can also go online as well. There will be information on that. They’ll be prompted to call only when they get that booklet.”

The cost of the water meter installation program is $1.3 million which will paid for by the federal gas tax program.

Knights said that using water meters is a fairer way of charging customers for water usage as he has seen in other communities in which they have installed water meters.

“It’s case by case, really, but it does produce a significant reduction in water usage; but it’s all dependent on the homeowner,” he said. “It’s in their control now because they will be paying for what they use. That’s the beauty of it. It’s not a flat rate anymore, it’s what you use. Only they can control it. We can’t make any guarantees because if people want to wash their car in the rain, we can’t control that. We can’t guarantee (lower water bill) unless you’re consciously controlling your consumption.”

Knights commended the City of Grand Forks for implementing the mock billing period for a year, which will give people an idea of how much they will spend will the water meters.

“(The mock billing) will allow people to adjust their consumption because they will see what they are consuming in a monthly or quarterly and adjust accordingly, which is really fair and great for them,” he said.

Knights said Neptune expects to complete the inside installations by the end of this year. He does add it will take longer to install outside (pit) meters.






Just Posted

Slocan Valley to be ‘lit up’ with high-speed internet in 12 months

125 kilometres of fibre-optic cable to be laid from Nakusp to Playmor Junction

RED resort announces new ski lift

Topping lift will add new ski area to resort, reduce bottleneck on Motherload chair

Paramedics union raises alarm over spike in out-of-service ambulances

Staffing shortages affecting service levels in Kootenays

COLUMN: 2018 second-largest on record for food bank

Boundary Community Food Bank added 109 new clients last year

RCMP look into broken window at new Whispers of Hope

There were no injuries in the incident

The good, bad and the unknown of Apple’s new services

The announcements lacked some key details, such as pricing of the TV service

SPCA seizes 54 animals from Vernon property

Animals weren’t receiving adequate care

Morneau unveils principles for Indigenous ownership in Trans Mountain pipeline

The controversial pipeline was bought by Ottawa last year

Refugee who sheltered Edward Snowden in Hong Kong arrives in Canada

Vanessa Rodel and her seven-year-old daughter Keana arrived in Toronto this week

New UMSCA trade deal getting a boost from Trump, business groups

The trade deal is designed to supplant the North American Free Trade Agreement

Trudeau says he, Wilson-Raybould had cordial conversation last week

Trudeau denies anything improper occurred regarding SNC-Lavalin and the PMO

SNC-Lavalin backtracks on CEO’s comments surrounding potential job losses

Top boss had said protecting 9,000 jobs should grant leniency

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

Most Read