The Environmental Appeals Board is now deciding whether the Town of Blackfalds can move forward with its plan to drain stormwater into Lacombe Lake.
During a three-day hearing, held June 14, 17 and 21, the board heard from three appellants who all own property around the lake and oppose the North West Stormwater Management Plan which was approved by Alberta Environments and Parks in July 2020.
The project would see stormwater transported to a management facility to be treated and then drained into Lacombe Lake, Whelp Brook and Wolf Creek. The North West Storm Water Plan builds on the Wolf Creek and Whelp Brook Watershed’s Master Drainage Plan.
The appellants’ main concern was the quality of the water coming into the lake, said Gilbert P. Van Nes, general counsel and settlement officer with the Environmental Appeals Board.
“They’re concerned particularly about phosphorous that would increase the plant growth in the lake. Lacombe Lake already has high water levels in it, so they’re concerned more water to the lake will exasperate those high water levels,” Gilbert said.
The board has 30 days to produce a report and recommendations for Minister of Environment Jason Nixon.
A ministerial order will be issued that will either allow the project to proceed as designed, send it back to the drawing board, or changes to the approval will be required to address the appellants’ concerns.