The completion of several apartment buildings in Winnipeg is in limbo because the city is running out of the water meters it normally provides developers.
The city says a shortage of small-diameter water meters has left it unable to meet the demand for the devices, which developers install in order to monitor the water usage of individual apartment tenants or condominium owners.
River Heights-Fort Garry Coun. John Orlikow said he fears the resulting occupancy delays will lead to new costs for developers, deprive the city of property-tax revenue and leave tenants who have signed leases without a place to live.
“If you don’t have any idea if you can actually get water online, you can’t get occupancy and I’m sure that’s going to cause a real big headache for a lot of developers,” Orlikow said in an interview.
His ward includes the Refinery District, a Fort Garry residential area taking shape in what used to be the Sugar Beet Lands industrial area, north of Bishop Grandin Boulevard. Orlikow said he has been told one of the multi-family buildings under construction in the new neighbourhood is now on hold.
“People invest a lot of money to get these projects started. We need the housing. We see our numbers continually increasing,” he said. “We need these units online.”
The city would not say when it will run out of the meters it provides to developers of new apartment buildings and condominiums.
“There are industry shortages of water meters as a result of supply chain issues,” city spokesperson Kalen Qually said in a statement.
“The city is experiencing delays in supplying all requested water meters to multi-family developments, however we are working with developers on interim solutions for building readings until enough meters are obtained.”
The city is working with its supplier to obtain more of the small-diameter meters, said Lisa Marquardson, a spokesperson for Winnipeg’s water and waste department.
In the meantime, the installation of these meters is down 50 per cent, she said.
Developers of new apartment buildings are being offered a single large meter instead, with the option of adding additional meters when the supply increases, Marquardson said.
There are no shortages of the water meters the city provides to single-family homes, she added.
The Manitoba Home Builders Association said it is monitoring the situation.
“We want to make sure that any delay like this doesn’t have a significant impact in terms of the pace of residential construction and the installation of water meters,” president and CEO Lanny McInnes said in an interview.
“That’s the critical piece of of having someone move into their new home.”
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