Another 800 properties will be exempt from increased water charges as a result of running their taps this winter.
The properties were identified by city staff as those that are traditionally at risk of having frozen water lines and have been running a cold water tap during the winter months for several years.
"We’ve always had frozen pipes every winter," Mayor Sam Katz said this morning when asked to explain the latest fee exemption associated with the unprecedented number of frozen water lines.
"We wanted to make sure (the others) would be covered as well," Katz said.
The city said it would only waive increased water charges for those properties that were formally notified to run their taps – about 9,200 properties.
However, those other 800 properties had been running a tap because that’s what they do every winter.
Katz admitted that city staff were caught flatfooted by the unprecedented number of frozen water lines, but added that was no different than the city’s initial response in the 1997 flood.
Katz said of the more than 2,400 properties that have reported frozen water lines since November, there are now about 400 where the lines are still frozen and they are not receiving water via a temporary hose connection.
"As well as being very traumatic for many people, it’s been a phenomenal learning experience," Katz said. "I’m quite confident (if it happens again), we will be much better prepared."
Katz said the city still doesn’t have any figures on what the situation has cost the city to date, adding he doesn’t anticipate a number until property owners can stop running a cold water tap as a precautionary move.
The proposal was approved at executive policy committee, with only Coun. Justin Swandel voting against the measure.
The proposal still be must be approved by council before it’s official city policy.
In related news, the city experienced problems updating information on the number of propereties affected by frozen pipes. A software problem is being blamed for city hall’s inability Tuesday to update numbers on the frozen water lines situation.
A city spokeswoman said city hall expects to provide updated number for Tuesday and today at some point today.