Hamilton hikes water bills 10 per cent to pay for infrastructure projects

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Hamilton city council approved the 2024 water and sewer rate budget with a 10 per cent increase to pay for infrastructure renewal, regulatory compliance and community growth.

The increase includes 2.39 per cent to cover the costs of replacing or rehabilitating aging infrastructure.

“The city is facing urgent infrastructure needs that must be addressed in a responsible manner as we navigate challenging economic realities,” said Mayor Andrea Horwath. “I will continue to advocate to our provincial partners to offset these costs and lessen the burden on Hamilton taxpayers.”

Council blames 7.65 per cent of the total rate increase on changes to provincial legislation including the More Homes Built Faster Act which transferred costs to build water and sewer infrastructure from property developers to municipalities.

The city has projected annual increases of approximately 10 per cent to the water and sewer (rate) budget over the next decade to support the repair and replacement of aging infrastructure, including major construction and modernization projects at the Woodward Water Treatment Plant, the Woodward Wastewater Treatment Plant, and the Dundas Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Hamilton has one of the oldest water and sewer systems in Canada. Water and sewer infrastructure in the lower City dates back to the mid-1800s, including the second oldest drinking water system and third oldest wastewater system in Canada.

The system has a combined 5,266 kilometres of water and sewer pipes and more than 250 separate facilities with a total value over $14.6 billion. Approximately 146 kilometres of water and sewer pipes are identified for major repairs or replacement in the next five years.

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