With the condition of the roads in Erskine being challenging, the County of Stettler held an open house for Erskine residents on Wednesday, May 17.
On site were county staff equipped with answers and any information that were requested.
Among some of the questions asked were, why was it necessary to provide water in Erskine.
The County of Stettler council discovered through the development of a county lot within the hamlet, that the county was no longer able to dig wells in Erskine, according to Alberta Environment, and sharing of wells was not allowed.
Not only did this information halt development in Erskine, but at the same time, Erskine School was having water problems and was without water at times, which resulted in having to send kids home until water was restored.
Council made the decision to apply for a grant that would afford them the ability to install water in Erskine. The grant was funded one-third by the federal government; one-third by the provincial government, and one-third by municipality.
When they discovered they could get $4 million in infrastructure by providing $1.4 million, they decided to go ahead.
However, due to the condition of the roads, most people were curious why were the present contractors still allowed to complete the project.
Urban Dirtworks is a contractor to the County of Stettler.
“They were hired to install the water, so operationally the job is theirs to complete, which means they do not have to inform us of every step,” said Yvette Cassidy, assistant CAO. “We are aware they’ve had some issues in certain places in the hamlet and had to revisit those spots on several occasions, but they are levelling and seeding ‘as they go.’”
According to Cassidy, the county expects settling to continue, which will be addressed throughout the year.
With a government grant, the county was obliged to accept the lowest tender, provided by Urban Dirtworks. They had a Sept.15, 2016 completion date, which meant they would have completed before winter, but that has not been the case.
“We have asked Urban Dirtworks to dig down and repack each excavation to aid in the resettling, but they have chosen to try and manage these settlements with topsoil as they appear,” Cassidy said. “Urban Dirtworks gets paid the contract value and the county does not pay extra, just because it is taking them longer.”
According to the contractor, a leak in the assembly of the valves was identified, which resulted in every valve needing to be dug up and reassembled.
And even though the extra work did not come at an extra cost, the amount of time required to do all of this has stretched beyond the estimated time.
For all those with mangled culverts, the contractor is required to restore them to original condition.
“If you have an issue you wish to flag, please contact the county, and if it is a safety issue, please contact us immediately,” Cassidy added. “We are hoping for August pavement, and we have a one-year warranty from when we issue them a certificate of completion.”
According to Cassidy, the county has money to spend on re-paving.
“The priority will be the reservoir/truck fill and septic dumping station, then Prospect Avenue in front of Erskine School to Main Street,” Cassidy explained. “Council will decide the priority for the rest of the paving project in Erskine, and hopes to have enough to enhance the hamlet. We will let Erskine residents know ahead of time, when paving is coming to the hamlet.”