2022 water rate increase finalized

Pictured is Prince Albert's water treatment facility. (Herald File Photo)

Customers getting a water bill from the City of Prince Albert will see an average $3.25 monthly increase starting next year.

The extra revenue is needed to help replenish the municipal water utility fund, which has been used to pay for multiple upgrades to the utility over the last several years.

“The City of Prince Albert has spent over a decade investing in core water and sewer infrastructure to catch up on years of neglect,” said Mayor Greg Dionne. “We now have one of the most reliable water and sewer systems in the province. The additional funds will improve our financial position in the water utility fund so we can continue to support safe, clean drinking water for our customers.”

The city said in a statement that it has invested over $100 million in the last 15 years to upgrade its infrastructure which has resulted in the “safest, cleanest, most reliable water in Western Canada”

Over $100 million has been invested in water and sewer infrastructure in the last 15 years. Notable projects include:

–  Raw Water Pumphouse – $18.9 million

–  River Street Water Reservoir and Pumphouse – $14.8 million

–  Second Avenue West and Marquis Road Reservoir Upgrades – $6.2 million

–  Replacement and upgrade of 12 sewage pumping stations – $12.7 million

–  Water Treatment Plant Filters – $0.6 million

–  West Hill Infrastructure Project  – $10.0 million

–  Water Treatment Plant Upgrades – $24.0 million

–  West Hill Sewer Trunk Main – $3.8 million

–  City-wide water meter replacements – $4.0 million

The list doesn’t include items such as water main, hydrant or lead service replacement.

It also doesn’t include operating costs such as staff wages

The City says it’s water bills remain among the lowest in the province despite the massive investment it has made and they remain the second lowest in Saskatchewan.

Rates are scheduled to increase by the same three per cent in 2023 and 2024 as well but those increases will come back to council for consideration before they are finalized.

Still to be completed is one last major upgrade to the waste water treatment plant.

The project is in the design phase and will be considered for construction once funding is finalized.

Council passed third reading of the modified bylaw at a special meeting on Dec. 15.