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Kelowna  

Rate hikes everywhere in 2012

Tuesday will be the first day that most users of Kelowna transit feel the effects of the January 1 rate hike. The first day of work or school after the holidays means many regular bus riders will pay the increased fee for the first time.

Back in July, the previous city council voted 7-2 in favour of the increase.

The increase means adult and college student fares will increase from $2 to $2.25, while fares for students up to grade 12 and seniors will rise from $1.75 to $2.

Fares on Kelowna Transit have not increased since 2007 and part of the justification for this increase is to increase cost recovery in the wake of numerous system improvements made over the last few years.

If you don't ride the bus and drive instead, you'll be thrilled to learn ICBC hopes to dig a little deeper into your wallet.

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia is applying to raise vehicle insurance premiums by an average of $27 per year.

ICBC president and chief executive officer Jon Schubert says the Crown corporation needs to increase its rates. He blames rising claims costs, especially bodily injury claims, and poor investment returns.

Public Safety Minister Shirley Bond echoed that sentiment, saying a skidding global economy and out-of-control injury claims have hurt the bottom line at ICBC. She added the increase would be the first since 2007.

And it's not like gas is going to get any cheaper either.

In July, the province's carbon tax will increase the price at the pump for a litre of gasoline by roughly a penny in addition to whatever else the price of oil adds to the cost this year.

If you prefer air travel, remember that parking at Kelowna Airport is going up from $1 per hour to $1.25 per hour on April 1, 2012, and $1.50 per hour by April 1, 2013.

 

The Regional District increased tipping fees in the new year for garbage and other solid waste at the two Central Okanagan facilities for both residential and commercial customers. That $1 bag of garbage now costs you $2.50.

And if you just want to go out an play, remember that recreation fees in Kelowna are going up another 2 per-cent this year, part of a five year, 10 per-cent increase implemented in 2011. The increase will be applied to everything for facility rentals to programs at the Parkinson Rec Centre.

So you decide to stay home instead. Well, wear a sweater.

As of January 1, 2012, Fortis BC has implemented another "rate rebalancing adjustment" which, Fortis says, is not really an increase, and not really their fault because the B.C. Utilities Commission ordered them to do it.

FortisBC began rate rebalancing on May 1, 2011, as a result of the BC Utilities Commission’s decision on FortisBC’s 2009 Rate Design Application and Cost of Service Analysis.

 

Then the Commission ordered FortisBC to implement yearly rate rebalancing adjustments every January 1 from 2012 through to 2015.

This year, rebalancing means home owners will pay 2.5 per-cent more in 2012, while some Commercial rates fall 7.8 per-cent.

BC Hydro applied for a rate increase back in March, then by November announced a reduction in the increase (yes, you'll still pay more) of 50 per-cent.

By April expect to pay $3 a month more.

January 1 also brought a third straight year of increases for B.C. health care premiums, this time a jump of 6.4 per-cent, and the Federal government, not to be outdone, chipped in with jumps in both Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance premiums.

The bottom line as the holidays end and you head back to the grind, if you're lucky enough to get a raise in 2012, you won't have to worry about how to spend it.

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