Regional District of Nanaimo | Financial Services - Frequently Asked Qustions

Frequently Asked Questions

How Regional District Finances Work

Regional District's operate under much the same legislation as municipalities, villages and towns, but budgeting for and financing works and services is more complex. In a municipality, there is basically one taxpayer. A property owner in a municipality pays taxes, which are pooled and then used by the municipality to pay for services across the municipality. There are exceptions to this rule, but generally speaking every property owner within municipal boundaries contributes to municipal programs and infrastructure wherever the service is delivered inside the municipality.

Regional Districts finance services on a fundamentally different basis. Regional District taxpayers come together in groups to pay for their services, which means that what you pay for depends on where you live in the Regional District.

For instance, there are three separate groupings that pay for transit services in the Regional District. In the southern portion of the District Electoral Areas A (Cedar), a small portion of Area C (Pleasant Valley), the District of Lantzville and the City of Nanaimo pool resources for our Southern Community Transit Service. In the northern portion of the District the municipalities of Parksville, Qualicum Beach and Electoral Areas E (Nanoose peninsula), G (French Creek) and H (Bowser/Deep Bay) pay for transit services. Property owners in Electoral Areas B (Gabriola Island), C (Extension) and F (Coombs-Hilliers/Errington) do not pay taxes to support transit services and no direct routes go through those areas. However, when taxpayers from those non-contributing areas use the buses they pay the regular fare and indirectly contribute towards the cost. If you follow the Electoral Areas link on the main page of our web site you will be able to see a list of the services paid for by the Electoral Area you live in.

What's Changing with Curbside Collection Service?

Automated Curbside Collection Service

  • Effective October 1, 2020, the RDN will be transitioning from the current manual curbside collection service to the new automated curbside collection service, at which time, the new rates for garbage, recycling and food waste will apply (determined by the on garbage cart size).
  • Customers will see two charges for Garbage, Food Waste and Recyclables (GFR) on their bill:
    • the first charge is for the current manual collection service prorated from January 1 to September 30 at the old rate; and
    • the second charge is for the new automated collection service prorated from October 1 to December 31 at the new rate (varies depending on garbage cart size selection). See below for garbage cart size selections:

Single Family Dwelling Unit

Service Rate Code

Recyclables

(same rate for any recyclable cart size)

Food Waste

Garbage

(Utility fee determined by garbage cart size only)

Payment after Due Date

Prompt Payment Rate

($15 flat fee discount)

G1 100L 100L 80L $165 $150
G2 240L 100L 100L $175 $160
G3 360L 100L 240L $250 $235

Single Family Dwelling Unit with One (1) Secondary Suite

Service Rate Code

Recyclables

(same rate for any recyclable cart size)

Food Waste

Garbage

(Utility fee determined by garbage cart size only)

Payment after Due Date

Prompt Payment Rate

($15 flat fee discount)

GSS1 360L 100L 240L $250 $235
What's Changing with your 2020 Utility Bill?

Understanding your Utility Invoice

User Fees

Contact the Finance Department

Utility Customers

Ask for:
Finance Department

6300 Hammond Bay Road
Nanaimo, BC V9T 6N2

Telephone
250-390-4111 (Nanaimo)
1-877-607-4111 (Toll Free)

Fax Number
250-390-6572

Email address - financedept [at] rdn.bc.ca

Budgeting/Property Taxes

Ask for:
General Manager or Manager, Financial Reporting

Telephone/fax numbers as shown above

Email address: inquiries [at] rdn.bc.ca

What do we mean by user rates?

User rates are charged to buildings connected to water and sewer systems. The Regional District also provides curbside garbage and recycling collections services to most residential properties. You are billed directly by the Regional District for all or a portion of the cost of providing those services - that's called a user rate bill. We also recover some of the cost of providing water and sewer services through your property taxes.

User rates apply to each separate residential unit. That means a home with a suite, or a property with more than one residence on the land will pay garbage & recycling and sewer user rates for each unit.

In most cases properties are serviced by a single water meter. In cases where there is more than one unit connected to a single water meter, the total water consumption is divided by the number of units for an average per unit, the user rate per unit is calculated and then multiplied back by the number of units for an overall total. User rate bill are sent out twice a year as follows:

Garbage & Recycling June One annual fee
Sewer June One annual fee
Water June For the period approx Sept 15 to May 15
Water October For the period approx May 15 to Sept 15
When do charges start?

Water user rates are payable from the date a water meter is installed on the property. Water user rates are calculated by reading water meters. Meters are read generally in the first two weeks of May for the time period from the prior September 15th (winter). A second meter reading is done between in the last two weeks of September covering the period from the May reading (summer).

Sewer user rates are billed from the first of the month following the installation of a water meter. If there is no water meter, the charges commence the first of the month following the final inspection of the sewer line. Sewer user fees are flat annual fees and are prorated in the first year if it is a new connection.

The garbage, recycling and food waste curbside collection service fee is a mandatory charge for all single family dwelling units. Garbage, recycling and food waste service fees are payable by each dwelling unit on a property. A single building with up to four units is treated as four individual dwelling units for user billing purposes. Unless requested otherwise, a second dwelling or secondary suite on a property will be automatically upsized to the 240L GARBAGE cart and charged accordingly. Please visit Curbside Collection for information on what goes where, how to set out your material, access your collection schedule and much more.

Where and when do I pay?

Regional District user rate bills are sent out in June and October and are payable by September 8, 2020 to qualify for a prompt payment discount (the curbside collection component of the discount is a $15 flat rate and the water and sewer component will remain at 10%). If a bill is outstanding at the end of December, the amount is transferred to the Surveyor of Taxes for collection. The Surveyor of Taxes, the Provincial office which sends out rural property tax notices, will send taxpayers a notice in March if there is an outstanding Regional District utility bill to be added to property taxes. If you do not pay the amount at that time, a penalty will be added and the whole amount will become part of your property tax bill which is due on or about July 2nd. The Regional District of Nanaimo cannot accept payment once the amount has been transferred to the Surveyor of Taxes.

User rate bills can be paid in a variety of ways:

  • Pre-authorized bank withdrawal (see "Forms and Financial Documents")
  • At most banks and credit unions
  • Telephone or internet banking
  • By mail - cheque or money order made out to the Regional District of Nanaimo
  • Due to Covid-19, the following safety protocols are in effect:
    • No cash payments; and
    • Customers are strongly encouraged to pay through their financial institution via online or telephone banking.
  • The RDN is currently accepting in-person payments by cheque and debit only at the RDN head office located at 6300 Hammond Bay Road, Naniamo:
    • to pay by cheque, attach invoice stub to the cheque and place in the mail slot located to the right of the front main administration door.  Debit payments will be accepted by appointment only.  To set up an appointment, please call (250) 390-4111. 

We cannot accept credit cards or interac e-transfers for utility invoices

How do I stop charges?

To stop water or sewer charges, you must call our Engineering & Utilities department at 390-6560 for permission and instructions. A reconnection fee is payable when you wish to re-connect. At the present time the fee is $100.

What if ownership changes?

The Regional District does not read meters when properties change hands. The law firm responsible for conveying the sale must contact the Regional District Finance department for an estimate of the amounts owed and make an adjustment. Note that the charges remain with the property when it is transferred and the new owner becomes responsible for these payments. The Regional District cannot make adjustments between owners if the actual amount of the final bill is different from the estimate.

What if I have a water leak?

Property owners are responsible for the maintenance of their water lines and are responsible to pay for any excess water usage, whether inadvertent or not. In some circumstances an adjustment can be made. If your bill is high and you suspect a leak call the administration office and ask to speak to Environmental Services.

How to calculate your water bill
Sewer

The sewer charge is a flat annual fee.

Curbside Collection

The curbside collection charge is a flat annual fee and mandatory for all single family dwelling units. The annual fee allows for one food waste cart weekly, one garbage cart and one recyclables cart on alternating weeks.

Under the current manual collection service until September 2020, if you need to set out more than one garbage container per collection period, you need to purchase a garbage tag and attach it to the extra container. For more information, click here.