Olds-to-RedDeer sewage line debt limit to be raised

The commission behind the Olds-to-Red Deer sewage line is looking to boost its debt limit.

The commission behind the Olds-to-Red Deer sewage line is looking to boost its debt limit.

Dennis Cooper, chairman of the South Red Deer Regional Wastewater Commission, said the additional borrowing room is needed to keep pace with the rising cost of the project and to cover government funding hold-backs.

First estimated at $107 million in 2007, the cost of the 90-km line from Olds to Red Deer is now expected to cost $135 million due to inflation and line route changes that added 16 km to the route.

The province is covering 90 per cent of that and municipalities along the line are sharing the rest.

That means the commission needs to borrow about $14 million for its share, up from the original $11 million.

Another $7 million must be borrowed to cover the 10 per cent the government holds back until work is completed on each phase.

Borrowed money will be paid off through sewage rates paid by communities along the line.

When the line is in full operation in 2015, each community will pay the same rate.

How much communities should pay until then became the subject of some debate at Innisfail recently, where the Anthony Henday Treatment Plant is located.

The town argued it should not have to pay the full rate because they are still paying to use the treatment plant for most of its sewage.

It wants to see an interim rate available.

Cooper said a consultant has been hired to look at the whole issue of rates and whether there should be some more flexibility in charges to municipalities until the line is fully commissioned.

Meanwhile, testing on the line from Innisfail to Penhold continues after repairs were made to fix leaking elbow joints and fuse collars.

The testing is done under pressure with water before any sewage starts flowing.

It is expected to be ready in January or February.

Another contract was recently tendered to install pipe from the city’s wastewater treatment plant to hook up later with a line going to Springbrook.