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Beach residents billed thousands for years of water use

A group of residents in the Beach were hit with a water bill in the thousands in April 2014. CITYNEWS

A group of townhouse dwellers in the Beach have been hit with thousands of dollars in water bills — after years without getting a single statement.

The residents, who live in a townhouse complex near Kingston Road and Dundas Street East, said the homes haven’t had water meters since they were built in 2007. Those who tried to get the city to install them ran into bureaucratic hurdles.

Nancy Sneddon is one of the 30 homeowners who got a bill for estimated usage last week.

When residents called the city to say they hadn’t been getting a bill, they were asked for an account number which they didn’t have. When they gave an address instead, some were told it didn’t exist in the system.

Others say the city told them the meters were there but that they just couldn’t find them. A staff member checked on Thursday and realized the homeowners were right.

“This was a shock,” Sneddon said. “My husband came through the door and said ‘you’re really going to like this.'”

“Of course it was disbelief. I mean this is ridiculous. I mean we’re on a fixed income. Where are we going to get $5,500?”

The due date on the bills is May 5 and staff told some residents they have a 90-day extension.

Since then, the city has said it will install meters for each unit to determine daily usage and come up with a more accurate bill and then work out a time frame for paying it all back.