The price of necessary services, including sewage and waste removal, is going up in Metro Vancouver.
A presentation at the annual Council of Councils meeting shows the average household will see an increase of $43 per year for the next four years.
Mayor Jonathan Cote of New Westminster, who is also the chair of Metro Vancouver’s regional planning committee, said it’s something the committee can’t control.
“The reality is maintaining and building infrastructure is really expensive work, and a lot of that work isn’t optional,” Cote said. “We need to be able to provide the water service, the sewer service, the sewage service to the region.”
But Cote said the committee is open to change.
“Potentially there are some discussions we can have with different levels of government, mainly the provincial government, on how can we can fund a more sustainable infrastructure that we know needs to be put in place, but our current taxation structure does have its limitations,” he said.
The average home will pay around $534 for Metro Vancouver services in 2019, the report said. By 2023, that total price will be up to $722.
Several new faces
The Council of Councils meeting is the first time most of the mayors and councillors from across the Metro Vancouver region have sat down together since the October municipal election.
And this year, there were more new faces than old.
Cote, who is one of the few incumbents in Metro Vancouver, said it’s strange being around so many new faces.
“In the meeting here today, when they said, ‘Show of hands, first Council of Councils meeting,’ it looked like 75 per cent of the room put up their hand,” he said.
But the two-term mayor said it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
“Given the enthusiasm and interest that I’m seeing around with new members, once we get through that learning stage, I think the region is going to be in good hands,” he added.
The Council of Councils meeting sees mayors and councillors go over topics that impact the entire region, including waste disposal and transit plans.
Other topics included TransLink’s plan to invest $9 billion into new services in the region.
Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley, who is also Metro Vancouver’s director of housing, said $41.4 million have been allocated to tackle housing affordability in the region.
“We seem to be having trouble unlocking some of the money that the federal government has promised for housing,” Hurely said in explaining the decision.
Metro Vancouver covers many essential services such as water, liquid waste, solid waste, air quality, regional parks, affordable housing, regional planning and environmental regulation.