Executive Committee proposes bylaw calling for mandatory lead pipe replacement

Regina’s Executive Committee has put forward a bylaw that could make it mandatory for owners of private properties to replace their lead water pipes.

“So when the city goes to do their work to replace their connection point, it’ll be mandatory now for the private side to do their connection points,” said Kim Onrait, director of citizen services for the city of Regina.

Major Sandra Masters said there are many ongoing concerns regarding lead pipes.

“I think that the concern ultimately is healthy tap water, accelerating the program and then providing those payment option, that’s kind of the effective of what the bylaw change was today,” said Masters.

The motion got full approval from the Executive Committee

“This is something we’ve been talking about extensively at council since at least 2017 and this puts into place a practice to accelerate both private and public led service connection replacement,” Coun. Andrew Stevens said. “This is a public health issue as much as it is an infrastructure question and I’m glad it’s going ahead and I’m pleased to see some movement on it in 2022.”

On Tuesday, Stevens attended an informal gathering with members of the community, elected officials and health experts and said there is a general understanding of what needs to be done.

“Community members are willing to engage and cooperate with the city and vice versa, to ensure that there’s better communication,” Stevens said.

If residents can’t afford a one-time payment, there are interest free payment plans available.

“One is on the private side, they can pay for all at once,” said Onrait. “They can defer payment over five years, or if they fall into the right criteria, that payment can be stretched out over a 10 year period.

Stevens said people who rent will not be responsible for those payments

“I want to inform residents who are renters living in those properties that this is not their financial responsibility. This is the responsibility of the property owner to shoulder those costs.”

City council will have the final say on whether this bylaw is approved at next week’s council meeting.

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