The province appears receptive to pumping more cash into a regional sewer line from Olds to Red Deer, says the head of the commission overseeing the project.
Dennis Cooper said a meeting in Edmonton on Monday with provincial ministers and local MLAs went well, although he left without a firm funding commitment.
“I think we’re moving in the right direction,” said Cooper, who is mayor of Penhold. “I came out of the meeting very optimistic.”
The cost of the regional sewer line was tagged at $107 million and the province has committed to covering 90 per cent of that cost, or about $96 million.
However, due to inflation and a strengthening construction market, the cost of completing the project is expected to climb.
Cooper wouldn’t reveal how much more money is needed because the commission hasn’t been given that information yet.
He called it a “moderate increase” considering the first budget estimates were made five years ago.
Provincial representatives also did not shut the door to the commission’s request that a new pipeline receive funding to replacing an aging one in Olds. It is needed as an emergency main channelling sewage into a holding pond in case the regional line must be shut down.
The regional sewer line project has been divided into three phases. A pipeline from Innisfail to Penhold line has been buried. Pipe has been going into the ground from Bowden to Innisfail and the rest of the route from Bowden to Olds is expected to be tendered this spring. It is hoped those phases will be done by the end of the year.
The final pieces of the project — a pipeline from Springbrook to Red Deer — likely won’t be built until 2013-14, although sewage will start flowing before that using an existing pipeline.
Meeting with the commission in Edmonton were Transportation Minister Ray Danyluk, Environment Minister Diana McQueen, Red Deer South MLA Cal Dallas, also Intergovernmental, International and Aboriginal Relations Minister, and Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA Luke Ouellette.