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County charging more for water, than LCBO is for wine

Over the past 10 years, my husband and I have spent thousands of dollars on water-conserving appliances and fixtures in an effort to not only conserve water, but save on our water bill.

The last time water prices were raised, we saw an increase in our water bill by $50-$100. For a family of five, we routinely pay well over $300 every two months. I can’t begin to imagine what we could be paying had we not taken the measures we have taken in order to conserve water. We don’t routinely water our grass. We are mindful of our water consumption. And yet, we are penalized by a council that refuses to find another way to fund that water plant on the hill.

I was sickened when I found on the internet, an article discussing the colour and sign size of Beach Bum’s new store sign on the store front they recently downsized to. As a County resident, I have shopped in Beach Bum. They have been here for as long as I have lived here, and the article even stated that they have been a County fixture for 25 years, yet either the small-business association, or the County Council can’t let it go. This is the news-worthy sound bite that has consumed our thoughts and attentions?

As a county-resident, I am uninterested in the size and colour of a County business sign. At least the owner of Beach Bum is making it work in a town that seems only interested in catering to the tourists who flock here five months out of the year, the seniors who retire here or the richest and deepest pockets in the County.

It appears to me, as a tax-payer in this town, that the day-to-day needs of the working-class are un-important to our current council. This town cares more about the size of a building (the new LCBO), the colour of a sign (Beach Bum), the “look” and “feel” of Main street (the trees, the heritage) or the whims of our Torontonian visitors each summer. Yet, the people who live and work here are struggling to pay their bills each month due to rising hydro costs, rising gas prices, rising water prices and rising food costs.

I live in town. I work in town. But I shop with the majority of my hard-earned money in either Belleville, Napanee or Kingston because the savings I receive there for the services and products I am looking for far outweigh the cost incurred to drive the extra 40 kms. That is a shame, because I would rather keep my money in the County. And I know that I am not alone.

The lack of job opportunities for local residents, and the lack of cost-saving shopping experiences force people out of the County to shop. And not every person in this County has a deep-pocket.

I want to know when the decisions of council are going to start making sense to me, the hard-working, tax-paying, home-owning County resident. When is our County council going to start looking out for the needs of the working-class residents. The ones who serve you in your restaurants, the ones who stock the shelves of your grocery stores, the ones who work in your nursing homes and the ones who plough your fields and your roads. When is the County Council going to start helping our economic conditions by creating a diverse selection of job-opportunities? When is council going to start helping the working-class and the senior population live in a town where they can afford to live and shop within the town they live in? When is council going to stop pandering to the tourists who are simply passing through, and realize that the people who live here want to love and appreciate the County just as much as the tourists do?

I am appealing to our council, that we stop arguing over semantics and begin to make a real, common-sense approach to building this community. Find ways to reduce the water bills of Picton residents. Find ways to bring in employment for the people who live in this town. Encourage larger businesses to come in and stimulate the economy by providing affordable services and gainful employment. Find ways to honour our heritage but also embrace today’s changing culture. The people of yesterday created this town with what they knew to be “modern”, so allow us to not only honour the past but also honour our present.
If that yellow and blue sign helps Beach Bum attract business to her establishment and help her pay her bills, then I personally don’t care about the size, shape, colour or placement of it. When council starts caring about how we are going to pay our water bills every two-months, then I might start caring. At least now I have a larger LCBO to shop in, and that might help me to forget that council is charging me more for water, than the LCBO is charging me for wine.

Jennifer Litke

Filed Under: Letters and OpinionNews from Everywhere Else

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  1. kevin says:

    Be it intentional or not, there appears to be a “divide and conquer” approach in place. Let’s not forget about strength in numbers. Find common ground. Stick together. Form an approach. Get your voice heard through council. Attend and ask questions. Better yet, find out what the elected representatives are doing about the position local taxpayers are taking. After all, we all have the same concerns. Rather than tear each particular group of citizens apart, get on the same page and have your voice heard. After all, this affects each and every one of us who call this beautiful place our home. Show up at Council’s events and meetings to let them know you want to be taken seriously. Hold these officials accountable. Rambling on in blogs is simply venting. Take action.

    Hmm, I wonder if we can levy visitors for road and infrastructure use along with emergency services. Just say’in.

  2. Susan says:

    I think bulk water haulage out of Picton is a no brainer. Pay what the urban residents pay.

  3. Emily says:

    I am proud the retirees find Prince Edward home. They are welcome here and they do contribute in so many ways to our economy. We also have a lot of local retirees who through no fault of their own are stretched financially here. That does not lessen their huge contributions to make the County what it is, Home.

  4. judy kennedy says:

    what you’ve have described is a stagnant economy,not a growing one. I thought that was the point.

  5. Mark Rose says:

    Whenever you buy water anywhere ( a bottle from a convenience store, etc), you’re paying more for the water than you would for your gas at the pump.

  6. Marnie says:

    Look at the houses they build Judy. Their construction creates jobs for our tradespeople and the taxes on those homes go into county coffers. Ridiculous to suggest they do not contribute. They may even carry us if truth be told.

  7. Emily says:

    “Retirees do not contribute to the economy”. Wow! Property Taxes, food, hardware, events, restaurants, experience, volunteerism, expendable cash etc. I would hate to see the condition of our community if they were not contributing.

  8. Chris Keen says:

    @ Judy – You certainly have an extremely narrow definition of “contribute”. Of course retirees contribute to the economy. They shop in Picton’s stores, buy gas at the gas bar, by coffee at Tims, pay property, sales and income taxes, … all of which “contribute” to the economy.

  9. Gary says:

    Picton residents pay for the amount of water consumed and they also pay waste water charges for that entire amount of water irregardless of whether it goes back into the system or not. Why would we support bulk users paying less than the resident users stuck with this mammoth debt?

  10. judy kennedy says:

    how is it ageist to say that retirees do not contribute to the economy? I am a retiree myself, but did work here for many years. I know I do not add much to the economy now. People who come here to retire are not contributors to the economy. We cannot build an economy on the retired. We will remain stagnant.

  11. Marnie says:

    There have been repeated attempts by various councils and an assortment of industrial commissioners to bring big business here and it has historically come to nothing. Perhaps it is time to be content with what we are. Big business does not seem to be in the cards for us and not for any lack of trying. We seem to attract retirees and tourists. Well paid jobs for young people are scarce to non-existent.

  12. Chris Keen says:

    @ Judy – your ageist comments are not worthy of you. You ought to think before you hit “submit comment”.

  13. judy kennedy says:

    there are other infrastructure issues than water- and lack of other resources are just as important—there is no way this area can support a large business —

  14. hockeynan says:

    What a ridiculous statement Gary.By the time we pay trucking it is expensive. Also when you put it in some wells it all doesn’t stay there

  15. Gary says:

    No bulk water should leave Picton without paying waste water charges.

  16. Fred says:

    Contrary Judy, we have more water infrastructure than we require. We have tons for larger business. As to Picton becoming Bloomfield that is off topic. Everyone wants a town to please their pleasures but none want to contribute to supporting the water costs.

  17. judy kennedy says:

    We shop in town as much as we can, but the reduced availability or lack of certain types of shopping is frustrating.
    We only need so many tourist/gift type shops. Picton is gradually becoming more like Bloomfield..pretty but not very practical day to day.
    As to water bills, they seem to be just like hydro–the more we try to conserve, the more we are charged–because demand is not as high as expected. The irony of that!
    Larger businesses will never come here–neither the infrastructure or natural features and resources can support them. We must make our own prosperity–one way is to encourage more home based and small businesses–tourism can be part of it.
    However, the waves of retirees are not adding anything to our economy—we need young minds and young families.

  18. Fred says:

    Mayor Finnegan’s council dithering and not listening to more cost effective options is their legacy.

  19. Gary says:

    When you build a $30,000,000 poop plant on a hill with not enough users to support the operation you are in deep s::t! Very poor planning.

  20. hockeynan says:

    I agree .Very well said

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