Homeowners handed $5k water bill spanning 7 years

Watch video above: Homeowners handed $5k water bill spanning seven years. Mark McAllister reports. 

TORONTO – For seven years, Gary Snedden and his wife have been enjoying retirement in their quiet townhome. The cost of living was something they could easily handle, until the utility bill showed up in their mailbox last week.

“I figured water bills would be about $300 a year or something like that,” he said.

Instead, the total amount was $5236.45 with a due date of May 5 to pay up.

No water meter been installed since they moved in. He also claims they rarely touch the taps.

“We both go to a fitness club every day and I haven’t had a shower in my place since we moved in,” he said.

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Their home is one of 30 units in a complex built at the corner of Dundas Street East and Kingston Road.

Hydro and gas meters can been seen from the street and phone and cable boxes are easily accessible. Neighbours claim they’ve called the city a number of times over the years about having water meters installed but nothing’s been done.

An inspector arrived Thursday afternoon to confirm that no water meters have been installed at most of the homes.

“We want to pay what we owe but we want to understand how the city has estimated what we owe,” Jim Barbour said. “We don’t have meters and we’d like a responsible amount of time to pay for it.”

The city introduced plans in 2010 to install 465,000 new automated meters over six years across the city with the intention of making billing more efficient.

City Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon was under the impression installation in Ward 32 was complete.

“There needs to be in mea culpa at some point with the city,” she said. “I’m looking to revenue services and the general manager of Toronto Water to come up with some ideas.”

The amount on each bill was calculated based the average annual amount for homes throughout the city. A number that could soon change.

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“We are willing to sit down with individual homeowners and build a consumption pattern over a billing period,” says General Manager of Toronto Water, Lou Di Gironimo.

Until then, the payment date for homeowners at this location has been extended to 90 days.

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