Letter to the Editor: Why punish everyone?

City has taken on the narrow-minded attitude of "let's punish everyone for using too much water," claims letter writer.

It seems the mayor and city council of Grand Forks have taken on the narrow-minded attitude of “let’s punish everyone for using too much water,” while in reality there are likely a very limited number of homeowners that are abusing water system privileges.

As clearly indicated by the whopping 800-or-so signature petition against the current water meter plan, the majority of residents don’t want to go ahead with this plan. So these water meters become a form of punishment to the majority of residents of Grand Forks, in the following ways:

1) Potential serious long-term harmful effects of strong RF radiation from the proposed water meters.

2) Privacy issues: allowing access to our homes for installation crews, future repairs, etc.

3) Water being sold as a commodity, when it has previously been viewed as a God-given resource.

4) Mayor and city council wasting $1.3 million of taxpayers money; this is our money… there are much better ways to spend it.

5) Some water meter installers used by city council apparently do not meet legal requirements of the building code, causing homeowners to worry.

If you are a resident concerned and fed up with water system abuse, and the fairness of the current system, there are better solutions than RF water meters, and solutions that will still weed out the abusers.

How about a different plan, one that doesn’t punish the innocent, and that is fair to all? How about a plan that costs a small fraction of the water meter plan, and puts the additional costs for water abuse back on the abusers?

Instead of spending $1.3 million on the current undemocratic plan that won’t work due to the numbers opposed to it, a new workable plan could potentially look something like this:

1) Hire college or university students on summer break to be “water ambassadors”: distributing information to homeowners, handing out/installing free water timers; expanding knowledge and awareness to all residents and homeowners on a continuous basis; and reporting abuse to City Hall. This is already working in Creston and other cities.

2) Enforce sprinkling regulations. Implement a strict escalating system of fines for water abuse. A rough example could be: first offense, a warning; second offense, official notice; third offense, a $50 fine, etc. Then escalate to sixth offense, $500 fine, etc.

Fines go on the water bill; non-payment results in water shut-off.

Let the abusers pay for the excess water. Don’t punish everyone. Why on earth havent mayor and city council taken these simple, inexpensive steps years ago to address the problem? Unbelievable!

For the record, Mayor Brian Taylor and councillors Cher Wyers, Patrick O’Doherty, Gary Smith, Neil Krog and Bob Kendel were all in favour of the water meter program. (Remember these names at the next election!) Councillor Michael Wirischagin has publicly voiced his opposition to the water meter program.

Congrats to Mr. Wirischaginthe concerned public thanks you!

Elaine Lea, Grand Forks

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