2020 Update: Halifax Water filed an application with the NSUARB on November 21, 2019, to approve “a revision to the regional development charge for water, and wastewater infrastructure and for approval of amendments to the schedule of rates, rules and regulations for water, wastewater and stormwater services to revise the regional development charge”.
The UARB hearing was held in June 2020. The UARB has approved the revised water and wastewater RDCs, subject to the findings and directives outlined in its Decision dated October 29, 2020. The related amendments to the Schedule of Rates, Rules and Regulations are also approved. The UARB has directed Halifax Water to file a Compliance Filing with revised data and calculations, no later than November 30, 2020. The intervenors are to provide comments, if any, within two weeks of the Compliance Filing, with a rebuttal by Halifax Water within one week.
You can view the full Decision on the the UARB site (Matter No M09494).
2013-2015 RDC Intervention: In 2013 UDI of Nova Scotia led an industry intervention against the introduction of Halifax Water Regional Development Charge. We applied for and received Intervenor Status in the UARB hearings, and raised money to hire lawyers and an expert to represent the industry. For those that followed the Halifax Water stakeholder process and UARB hearings, you would understand that without our intervention the proposed charges would have been approved.
Without industry intervention a Developer of hypothetical 24 unit building would have paid $181,264 in RDC. In April 2015 the same Developer would have paid $68,728 for a savings of $112,886. Using a hypothetical 96 unit building the Developer would have paid $726,456 in RDC and in April of 2015 would have paid $274,912 for a savings of $451,544. On average our hypothetical developer paid 62% less in RDC than they would have without industry intervention.
The UDI Board accepted Halifax Water’s methods of calculating the charge, including growth projection, inflow and infiltration, water consumption and benefit to existing; however these are issues we are looking at as the mandatory five-year review approaches. We continue to work with Halifax Water to justify many of what were shown to be questionable assumptions and engineering inputs used in the modelling and cost allocations of future sewer system requirements.
Halifax Water needs to ensure the RDC and other charges are applied in a fair and transparent manner. Another point of concern to UDI is the lack of water conservation policies. We would like to see Halifax Water encourage use of newer technologies, and work with developers to ensure costs are kept low for end-users.