The new regional water system through Ashmont and Lottie Lake is up and running, and fees for 2017 have been set. As of March 14, 2017, the new fees will include a monthly service charge of $60, and a variable usage charge of $4.90 per cubic metre. The charges will be reflected in residents’ April utility bill. Sheila Kitz, CAO for the County of St. Paul, says the fees are aimed at cost recovery, but “It takes a full season to determine what consumption’s going to look like,” so they will be reviewed for 2018.
While this monthly service charge is for homes and small businesses, the rate for Ashmont school and the seniors’ lodge has still to be determined. As well, the rate for water loaded at the truck-fill in Ashmont has to be established. The truck-fill is expected to be completed by spring, and will provide potable and non-potable water. Payment for the water will be done via a card lock system.
Water rates in Mallaig have been set, too. The monthly service charge will be $26 and the usage fee will be $3.49 per cubic metre. Construction of the regional water system connection to Mallaig is still pending approval of the interbasin transfer, since Mallaig is not in the same water basin as Ashmont.
Regarding the quality of the water, Kyle Attanasio, Director of Legislative and Communications Services for the County of St. Paul, says, “I’ve heard people say they can tell the difference in the water already, but I haven’t heard anything negative.” He says that after the system’s taps were opened on December 8, “Some residual had to work its way through the line, but I’d like to dispel the rumours that the water was mixed 50/50 with old water. This is 100% Epcor.”