FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2013

HALIFAX – The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) is appealing to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (NSUARB) to reject a proposed hike to water rates. This proposal by the Halifax Regional Water Commission (HRWC) will unfairly slam HRM restaurants with a price increase of almost 60% for water services and 25% for wastewater services over the next two years.

“Water and wastewater services are an essential part of any restaurant business and operators are prepared to pay their fair share for the services they use,” says Luc Erjavec, Atlantic Canada Vice President for CRFA. “However, decades of neglect and mismanagement by past governments and HRWC – not industry – have resulted in the poor state of infrastructure today. Forcing existing restaurateurs to pay the tab for this neglect is unfair.”

“Restaurant operators are already struggling in a tough economic environment and are faced with growing costs for food, labour and energy,” says Erjavec. “At a municipal level, operators have seen their tax bill soar, and are now bracing for a new fire inspection fee. On top of this, the proposed water rate increase will cost the average restaurant about $5,000. Bumping up costs for essential services like water will not help businesses grow and prosper. The only way to stimulate the economy and create jobs is by reducing costs and making HRM a competitive place to do business.”

In its submission to the NSUARB, CRFA also recommended that HRWC explore opportunities to lower overall water use and wastewater generation to reduce the need for system expansion.

As Nova Scotia’s fourth-largest private-sector employer, the restaurant industry directly employs nearly 30,000 people at more than 1,900 establishments. Twenty-two per cent of Canadians were first employed by the restaurant industry, making it the number one source of first jobs.

CRFA is one of Canada’s largest business associations, with more than 30,000 members representing restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and other foodservice providers. Canada’s restaurant industry generates $65 billion annually in economic activity and employs more than 1.1 million people in communities across the country

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