April 1 brings fee increases across B.C.
It's no practical joke - from camping fees to ferry fares, prices are increasing across British Columbia on April 1.
BC Hydro utility fees
Effective Thursday, BC Hydro is imposing a 9.11 per cent utility fee increase that will amount to about $84 more per year for the average customer.
The company received interim approval on the rate hike on Tuesday, but a final decision from the BC Utilities Commission may not be ready for months – meaning the higher rate could be refunded.
The increase includes a 6.11 per cent general increase and a three per cent increase in the company's so-called rate rider.
It's expected to add about $7 to the average users' monthly hydro bill. The company says it intends to use the extra revenue generated to pay for infrastructure upgrades.
Pre-paid transit fares
Metro Vancouver transit users' wallets will also take a hit on April 1, as TransLink hikes prices for monthly transit passes, employer passes and FareSaver tickets.
Monthly one-zone passes will go from $73 to $81, two-zone from $99 to $110, and three-zone from $136 to $151.
A book of 10 one-zone FareSaver tickets is going from $19 to $21. Two-zone books are going from $28.50 to $31.50 and three-zone from $38 to $42.
Annual employer transit passes will go from $762 to $846 for one zone, $1,026 to $1,139 for two zones, and $1,406 to $1,561 for three zones.
Single cash fares remain the same. A full list of price increases is available here.
Ferry users can expect to pay a few dollars more too. BC Ferries is increasing fares by $2.26 on major routes between the mainland and Vancouver Island, and almost double that on the route to the Sunshine Coast.
The cost for a car and driver one way from the mainland to either Victoria or Nanaimo will rise to $46.75, while foot passengers will pay $14, a hike of 50 cents.
People travelling from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale will pay an extra $4.35 for a round trip, for a total of $43.20, while foot passengers will have to fork over another dollar at $12.85.
Increases for the Gulf Islands and other routes rise from by about one to three dollars. A full list of fare changes is available here.
There are no new increases on the northern routes because those fares went up last fall.
And it's going to cost more to enjoy B.C.'s protected parks. User fees for basic camping, buoying boats and using RV sani-stations will all increase on Thursday, marking the first rate hike in two years.
The most in-demand, highly developed campgrounds will now charge $30 per night, up from $26.Other developed campgrounds will charge $28 per night, up from $26.
Moderate campgrounds will increase by $2 per night up to $21, while basic sites will increase by $1 to $16 per night.
Premium backcountry fees will double for adults, from $5 to $10, while youth rates will remain the same. Thirty-three parks, including Tweedsmuir, Wells Gray and E.C. Manning, will not be affected.
Mooring buoy fees will increase $2 to $12 per night, and sani-station waste disposal fees will increase by $3 to $5 per discharge.
But campers will also be able to reserve specific sites for the first time at 70 of the province's campgrounds through a new reservation system, available here.
Appliance tax exemption
A B.C. tax exemption for energy saving appliances will end on April 1 as well. Washing machines, refrigerators and freezers bearing the ENERGY STAR label will again be charged the seven per cent Provincial Sales Tax.
Mail-in rebates for the appliances, which range from $25 to $50, will still be available until May 31, 2010.
With files from The Canadian Press