Discerning residents of Grand Forks have surely not being swayed by the misleading statements that have been made in letters to the editor of the Grand Forks Gazette and presentations at council meetings about the council’s decision to install water meters across the city as a water conservation measure.
Following are seven groundless statements selected from several issues of the paper. They are far from the truth and serve no real purpose except perhaps to inflate the egos of those who made them.
• “… Council under the leadership of Mayor Taylor has adamantly refused to hear any opposing points of view since Spring 2009.”
Public participation in Committee of the Whole meetings is welcomed and open houses provide opportunities to provide information.
If council were not prepared to listen it would not have allowed the ongoing discussion of the water meter issue at several council meetings.
• “Any opposition voiced openly or in writing gets brushed off, and council proceeds to do as they please despite the wishes of the people.”
Councils across the province must operate according to the requirements of the Community Charter.
The people who presented the petition at the Feb. 11 council meeting were misinformed if they believed that the council would immediately rescind its decision to install water meters. The council is open to community opinion as might be expressed in a petition but the results “are not binding on the council.”
• “The truth revealed is the fact that we have an extremely desperate council, one that has suddenly come to the realization that our community has a ╘rotten╒ infrastructure ready to implode, a problem that can no longer be glossed over, a council so desperate and so cash-strapped that it will grasp at any straw to try to wind its way out of a mess, a mess that this council and previous councils created.”
The statement implies that the council is acting recklessly, out of urgency, or hopelessly is a real stretch of the writer’s imagination.
• “Once you have city-owned property in your house, they have the right to come in at any time to service or replace that meter. If the city then decides to follow the federal mandate of privatization, you could have a large multi-national corporation in your home.”
Communities across Canada have old and decaying infrastructures and without raising taxes beyond the limits of residents to pay, they lack the money to do much about renewing them.
• “These proposed Grand Forks water meters are the thin edge of the wedge (locally) for globalist control of everyday people.”
Globalist control refers to the United Nations (UN) Agenda 21. There is no relationship between the city initiative and the UN and its initiative, a product of the UN Conference on Environment and Development held in Brazil from June 2 to 14 in 1992.
• “… It’s unethical for the city to use water as a commodity.”
To suggest that the city is looking at water as a source of general revenue is to ignore the fact that the system of wells, pumps, pipes and a reservoir to provide every household with an adequate supply come with a cost.
• “Anyhow, what is the big rush with this council to get these meters in before the election and the public realizes the far-reaching consequences?”
The incumbent council has taken action on the water meter issue that has appeared on council agendas for more than a decade.
• “If you do allow one of these meters to be put in your home, you will no longer have control of who comes in your own hour and when.”
Statements such as this one are examples of “fear mongering” that has prevailed throughout the dialogue on water meters.
Operating the city water system without meters is no longer a feasible option and to suggest that water users will voluntarily conserve the quantities necessary is pure fantasy.