Anita Alexander, a member of the Lacombe Lake Watershed Stewardship Society, sets up a table on the Trans Canada Trail near the lake. She is seeking signatures for a petition to stop a plan to allow stormwater to drain into the lake. (File photo by MURRAY CRAWFORD/Advocate staff)

Petition opposes Blackfalds drainage plan

Residents concerned about Lacombe Lake contamination gather more than 1,000 names

Residents concerned that a proposed drainage plan could harm Lacombe Lake have collected more than 1,000 names on a petition opposing the project.

Anita Alexander, whose family have owned land next to the lake for decades, and other volunteers have gone out to community events and farmers markets collecting signatures since the end of June.

“The support was overwhelming,” said Alexander. “People were very, very appreciative of us doing the petition and very motivated and happy to sign it.

“(The drainage plan) doesn’t sit well with anybody.”

Blackfalds has applied to Alberta Environment and Parks approval to direct stormwater that would run off developments in the northwest part of the town through wetlands and holding ponds and on to Lacombe Lake.

The province is expected to make a decision next month.

Area residents and members of the Lacombe Lake Watershed Stewardship Society are concerned the stormwater will bring contaminants into the lake.

Engineering consultants Stantec have assured that water quality will easily fall within Alberta Environment standards and release rates from the lake will remain unchanged.

Blackfalds Mayor Melodie Stol defended the drainage plan in a public letter recently.

“The Northwest Area Master Stormwater Plan that has been submitted to Alberta Environment and Parks includes a series of existing and newly constructed wetlands that will receive and treat water before it reaches Lacombe Lake through natural treatment and monitoring processes that we see in every single community across Alberta,” Stol wrote.

“The Town of Blackfalds is working with Alberta Environment and Parks to meet and exceed water quality standards as it is our obligation to protect and enhance these areas with the care that we extend throughout our community.”

Those behind the petition have proposed a number of alternatives to the proposed drainage plan.

Alexander said it “boggles the mind” that other options are not being considered.

This week, copies of the 81-page petition with 1,041 names was delivered to Alberta Environment and Parks, Lacombe County and the Town of Blackfalds.

Lacombe city council considered the drainage plan at its Monday meeting. Council is not opposed to the project but passed a motion requesting Alberta Environment review the potential impact of the Blackfalds drainage plan on Lacombe.

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