Finances put future services at risk in Sylvan
Alberta government’s tight finances could scuttle future water and sewer projects serving the Sylvan Lake area, fears the town’s mayor.
The province slashed municipal grants available through its Water for Life strategy by 56 per cent — to $75 million from $170 million.
Sylvan Lake Mayor Susan Samson said the town, expected to hit a population of 13,000 this year, has enough water in its wells to serve a population of 18,000.
“So that doesn’t leave us a lot of room and we certainly don’t want to wait until the 11th hour,” Samson said.
A regional water line is the solution, but Samson isn’t expecting any significant cash for those kinds of projects — which are too pricey for municipalities to take on — until the province gets back in the black.
“I think we’ve got very serious challenges.”
The town is waiting to hear if an expected $150,000-grant to expand the sewage lagoon this year under the Water for Life program is still coming.
Samson is aware of the financial difficulties faced by the South Red Deer Regional Wastewater Commission, which is crying foul over provincial funding.
The commission claims the province has backed out of a previous commitment to fund 90 per cent of the $130-million Olds-to-Red Deer sewage line.
Samson is aware of the dispute and is concerned how that bodes for a sewage line that was to serve communities around the lake and connect to Sylvan Lake’s treatment lagoon.
When that reaches capacity the goal was to run a line to Red Deer’s treatment plant.
Two summer villages have been hooked up so far and a septic receiving station was built in Lacombe County to serve a looming spike in residential development, much of it in RV communities.
“Now we’re trying to get the Summer Village of Birchcliff hooked up on line but the funding is not forthcoming.”