Billing changes for Ontario cottages 'devastating' says community association president

cottage

The president of an Ontario community association says upcoming energy billing changes will have devastating impacts for its owners, especially those on a fixed income.

The Ontario Energy Board is lifting a discount its given to seasonal cottager-goers, which could result in some bills jumping around 130 per cent.

Krystyna Williamson, head of the Christie Lake Association, said she suspects once the bills start to increase come this fall, it'll have serious effects.

"I think people are maybe just sort of sitting back and waiting to see what the impact is," she said.

The increase could mean a monthly increase of $68 and Williamson said there's an unjust perception that many cottage owners have tons of cash to spend.

"We're taxed at roughly 30 per cent more with waterfront than the people across the road from us and by and large using a lot less municipal service for that same tax dollar," she said. "It's just another nail in the coffin."

"Municipalities where a lot of cottages are located, view cottage owners as privileged and therefore they pay a higher share of the tax burden, it's all kind of adding into a perception that cottages are for the rich and do we really want to make that true?"

She added many owners have already resorted to selling, while others have tried to hold on despite increasing costs and being on a fixed income.

"The only reason I can think of is that the energy sector in Ontario, the energy delivery has been so mismanaged that they're short of money and they're looking for ways to make that up."