If Coquitlam were to move to a system of water meters, consumption rates would have
to dip by half in most cases to make doing so worthwhile.
City staff laid out four options Monday for council to consider should the city opt to move to a metering system, in light of consistent feedback from community members asking for such a move.
"There are some people who feel that how much you pay for water should be directly reflective of how much water you consume," said Bill Susak, Coquitlam's manager of engineering and public works.
Currently in Coquitlam, home owners pay a flat rate for water of $407 annually, while non-residential properties are metered.
Three of the four options examined - universal metering, multifamily metering and voluntary metering - were viewed as impractical due to increased costs and maintenance concerns.
Only one option - referred to as a proportionate flat rate system - seemed to gain any traction among staff.
Used in both PoCo and Burnaby, the proportional system provides different rates based on dwelling types.
In PoCo, apartment owners pay 89 per cent of the single family homeowners' flat rate ($351 compared to $391), though the disparity is much greater in Burnaby - apartment owners pay $280 per year compared to the $487 paid by the owners of single family homes.
"Under a proportional rate structure, the burden of operating the water system would shift to single-family homeowners in Coquitlam," a staff report notes. "Single family homeowners would pay more than the current flat rate of $407, while apartment owners would pay less."
Most around the council table took the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach to Monday's discussion.
"I think we've got a very good system," said Coun.
Brent Asmundson. "I think with most people, if they wind up voluntarily putting in a meter . they're not going to be paying less, they're going to be probably paying more."
Council also agreed in principle to give developers building highrises a 12-month window before they begin paying for water. The current window, set at six months, was viewed as too short by members of the Urban Development Institute when compared to actual construction times.
Both matters will come before council at a future meeting.