Lacombe C0unty council chambers was packed on Thursday evening by residents concerned about a plan to channel stormwater through Lacombe Lake.
So many turned out for the open house that extra chairs had to be brought out, said Anita Alexander, whose family has owned land on the lake since 1960.
Alexander is among many who fear that allowing the lake to become part of a stormwater system serving northwest Blackfalds will contaminate a treasured natural area.
Under the proposed plan, water would pass through wetlands and holding ponds for natural treatment before heading north through Lacombe Lake.
Alexander, who is a member of the Lacombe Lake Watershed Stewardship Society, said residents who attended the open house were united in their opposition to the plan. Representatives from Alberta Environment and Parks, Lacombe County, Blackfalds and Stantec were on hand to hear concerns.
“There’s no way the message didn’t get through,” said Alexander. “Everybody sitting in those seats didn’t want it.”
Residents were given assurances by municipal officials that their concerns had been heard.
“They did say we’re going to listen to you and we’re not here to just let you blow off steam.”
Lacombe County manager of environmental and protective services Keith Boras said residents’ concerns will be summed up on the county’s website at www.lacombecounty.com and passed on to Blackfalds and the province.
Whether to allow the lake to be used as part of the stormwater plan is the province’s, not the county’s, decision to make.
The department is still accepting public comments on the proposal.
Lacombe County has been asked to sell some land for the stormwater project. That request has not yet gone before council.
Stantec, which designed the stormwater management plan, says it will “handily” meet Alberta Environment water quality standards.
“We are confident that the Lacombe Lake Watershed Stewardship Society will experience no appreciable decline to Lacombe Lake water quality as a result of treated stormwater that is originating in the Northwest Area,” says Stantec.