Prov­ince doles out for ru­ral wa­ter projects

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Terri Hux­ley The Drumheller Mail

The Al­berta gov­ern­ment plans to spend over $131 mil­lion dol­lars on ru­ral wa­ter re­sources in­clud­ing up­grades to the Three Hills Wa­ter Treat­ment Plant and the Shirley McClel­lan Re­gional wa­ter ser­vices com­mis­sion.

The Wa­ter for Life ( W4L) ini­tia­tive was cre­ated in 2006 with the in­ten­tion of sup­port to new wa­ter and waste­water de­vel­op­ments un­der the Al­berta Mu­nic­i­pal Wa­ter/ Waste­water Part­ner­ship (AMWWP) which over­sees ru­ral devel­op­ment.

The W4L strat­egy is only avail­able to new wa­ter and/ or waste­water sys­tems or new ex­ten­sions. Commissions or mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties must present how their pro­posed al­ter­na­tive to the cur­rent sys­tem is cost-ef­fec­tive and eco­nom­i­cally jus­ti­fied com­pared to other so­lu­tions. Each pipe- line or re­gional sys­tem is 90 per cent funded through the grant.

For the Three Hills Wa­ter Treat­ment Plant, up­grades are re­quired in or­der to meet Al­berta En­vi­ron­ment wa­ter treat­ment re­quire­ments. The W4L grant has pro­vided $8,913,316 out of a pos­si­ble $14,785,083, leav­ing the re­main­der of costs up to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

The plant, which is owned and op­er­ated by the town, cur­rently pro­vides wa­ter to Three Hills, Trochu, and parts of Knee­hill County by draw­ing wa­ter from the Red Deer River, east of Three Hills.

Three Hills Mayor Tim Shear­law is de­ter­mined to see the Three Hills Wa­ter Treat­ment Plant project flour­ish in the ben­e­fit of the res­i­dents.

“It’s some­thing that has to be done – any­thing that will

pro­vide qual­ity wa­ter to our cit­i­zens and to those who pur­chase our wa­ter is of pri­or­ity to us,” said Shear­law.

So far, the grant has been ac­cepted but Shear­law and coun­cil want to make sure all is well be­fore go­ing full bore.

“W e want to make sure that we are dead on with our de ci s i o n on that but I mean we are com­ing up to mun ic i - pal elec­tions,” said Shear­law. “Do we write it in stone for the new coun­cil or do we wait on the new coun­cil to fi­nal­ize the di­rec­tion that they want to take?”

As well as Three Hills, the Shirley McClel­lan Re­gional wa­ter ser­vices plans to have wa­ter lines stretch­ing from Donalda to White­sands and another line go­ing to the Ham­let of Brown Field.

Out of the 29 projects this year, the largest project to be­gin is the Syl­van Lake Re­gional Waste­water Com­mis­sion.

Plans of build­ing a re­gion- al waste­water line stretch­ing from Syl­van Lake to the County of Red Deer will al­low the waste re­moval process to pro­ceed down­stream from the plant ver­sus the cur­rent flow up­stream. “Any­one vis­it­ing this re­gion on a sunny sum­mer day will see throngs of peo­ple along the streets, in shops, at restau­rants and at the beach. This is just one more ex­am­ple of how our gov­ern­ment is in­vest­ing in the in­fra­struc­ture needed to build the econ­omy here and across Al­berta to help cre­ate jobs and to make life bet­ter for Al­ber­tans,” said Brian Ma­son, Min­is­ter of Trans­porta­tion and In­fra­struc­ture.

The to­tal project costs $41,200,000 with the grant amount giv­ing $37,080,000. The mu­nic­i­pal­ity must pay the re­main­der $4,120,000.

Once projects get un­der­way, the in­vest­ment will help sus­tain ap­prox­i­mately 900 jobs in Al­berta.

The Town of Three Hills has re­ceived a grant for $8.9 mil­lion from the Wa­ter For Life Pro­gram to up­grade its Wa­ter Treat­ment Plant.

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