Municipalities forced into wastewater deal need province to make good on the money

A Red Deer County councillor expressed concern on Tuesday that government cutbacks could cause communities to drop out of a regional sewer line project.

A Red Deer County councillor expressed concern on Tuesday that government cutbacks could cause communities to drop out of a regional sewer line project.

Innisfail and Olds are already at capacity and need to find a way soon to treat their sewage, said Councillor Jim Lougheed, who is the county’s representative on the South Red Deer Regional Wastewater Commission. The commission is overseeing a $107-million project to build a sewer line from Olds to Red Deer.

The commission recently heard that the province wants to stretch out its funding for the line over more years because of the difficult economic climate. That could delay completion by about two years, pushing it ahead to 2013 or 2014.

What worries Lougheed is that uncertainty over the regional sewer line could prompt municipalities to pursue other options. Olds has already suggested it may look at a lagoon system, rather than tie into the sewer line, he said.

“At this point, the commission members are trying to arrange a meeting with our local MLAs and other provincial (officials) to put pressure on them to try to make the funds flow until this project is finished.”

Lougheed said the Alberta government told communities to join the commission.

“They didn’t have any say in the matter.

“And now the program has been, or there’s worry or fear, that funding may be cut back.”

“So, they’re kind of at a standstill as far as their growth goes,” Lougheed said.

“My feeling is if you mandate that municipalities become members of this regional commission and you start the project, I think there’s some obligation to follow through with those funds to complete the project.”

Olds Mayor Judy Dahl confirmed they have been talking with the province about other options besides joining a regional sewer line that might not come soon enough for the growing community.

“The truth of the matter is we’re at the end of the line. We’re phase three and we’re faced with the dilemma of a shortage of funds from the provincial government.”

Dahl said the municipality has met with the environment and transportation ministers, who understand the town’s predicament. It’s too early to say what options will be considered.

The town planned its own upgrade five years ago but the province preferred a regional system so that was put on hold. But the town now finds itself as the last community scheduled to be hooked up to the regional line at a time when provincial funding has become less secure.

Meanwhile, the town’s existing treatment lagoons are aging and at capacity and there are developments underway or proposed on all four sides of the town of 8,000.

Just Posted

Red Deer’s crisis line workers are busy dealing with multiple emergencies

Callers need everything from mental health counselling to their basic needs met

Restaurant Brands International announces executive changes and raises dividend

TORONTO — Restaurant Brands International Inc. raised its dividend as it announced… Continue reading

Puck and player tracking gets TV test at All-Star Weekend

Twenty-three years after Fox’s glowing puck made its debut, the NHL’s next… Continue reading

Some Alberta minor hockey players getting heat for Indigenous locker room dance

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — The Fort McMurray Minor Hockey Association has apologized… Continue reading

Not a fly-over province: Trudeau making frequent stops in Saskatchewan

LA LOCHE, Sask. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to visit… Continue reading

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

Edmonton Oilers fire general manager Peter Chiarelli: reports

EDMONTON — Peter Chiarelli has been fired as general manager of the… Continue reading

Canadian Milos Raonic has Australian Open run end in quarterfinals

MELBOURNE, Australia — Canadian Milos Raonic is done at the Australian Open… Continue reading

$20K pay gap between women, men in Canadian tech jobs

The report defines tech workers as people either producing or making extensive use of technology, regardless of industry

Two Quebec short-film directors mark first Oscar nominations together

TORONTO — Two Quebec filmmakers celebrated in solidarity on Tuesday after learning… Continue reading

Toronto illustrator teams up with Paul McCartney on children’s book

Toronto-based illustrator Kathryn Durst says she’s found a true collaborator in Paul… Continue reading

Catholic student says he didn’t disrespect Native American

Many saw the white teenagers, who had travelled to Washington for an anti-abortion rally, appearing to mock the Native Americans

Backlund scores OT winner for Calgary Flames in 3-2 win over Carolina Hurricanes

Flames 3, Hurricanes 2 (OT) CALGARY — Mikael Backlund scored 15 seconds… Continue reading

Glendening’s two-goal performance leads Red Wings past Oilers 3-2

Red Wings 3, Oilers 2 EDMONTON — Luke Glendening had a pair… Continue reading

Most Read