Posted on 06 June 2012 by Keith Lacey
Town of Osoyoos councillors haven’t made any final decision about bringing smart meters to town, but they appeared to be leaning towards not wanting much to do with them during Monday’s regular meeting of council, which makes Virginia McQuarrie very happy.
After reading about a presentation by FortisBC regional manager Bob Gibney to Osoyoos town council two weeks ago, McQuarrie immediately started a petition in the subdivision where she lives up near Osoyoos Golf and Country Club and had almost 80 people sign it in four hours.
Because she has health problems, she didn’t continue the petition, but it became very obvious to her there is vehement opposition to smart meters.
“The people who have strong opinions and seem to know about this subject were vehemently opposed and really wanted to sign the petition,” said McQuarrie. “To have 80 names in only four hours of one day is a very good indicator to me that a lot of people don’t want anything to do with smart meters and I’m glad council seems like they might be listening.”
McQuarrie admits she’s “not an expert” on smart meters, but said her son has done a lot of research into them and told her they are not a good idea and citizens in many communities across British Columbia and across Canada are rallying to stop them from being installed.
“From what I’ve read and heard, they are bad news,” she said. “At the very least, these things should not be forced on anyone and we should all have the option of not wanting them.”
Mayor Stu Wells said he’s heard a lot of people in town talking about this issue since Gibney’s presentation to council and the vast majority of citizens are opposed to the concept of smart meters coming to town.
“I think this was a very strong petition and I think we’re going to see more and more of this as we head down this smart meter debate,” he said. “There seems to be strong opposition to them being installed under the current formulation.”
Coun. Michael Ryan said he wanted it stated on the record that town council has never inquired about installing smart meters and haven’t discussed the issue at length, but had an obligation to listen to Gibney’s presentation as FortisBC is the electrical supplier to this community.
“This was an initiative of FortisBC and not something we’re promoting or something we’ve even really discussed yet,” said Ryan.
The British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) will make the final decision on applications made by FortisBC relating to the installation of smart meters, said Ryan.
Several communities that have installed smart meters have a proviso that individual property owners can “opt out” of having one on their property and that will also be discussed by town council moving forward, said Ryan.
The fact several councillors have acknowledged there is strong public opinion against bringing smart meters to town is encouraging, said McQuarrie.
“At least it appears like they’re listening to us,” she said.