Potable water project stirs Stettler county residents

  • Aug. 19, 2009 11:00 a.m.
What’s the water plan? – County of Stettler Reeve Earl Marshall (right) and consultant Darwin Durnie of Stantec Consulting describe maps as part of the County of Stettler Rural Water Servicing Strategy.

What’s the water plan? – County of Stettler Reeve Earl Marshall (right) and consultant Darwin Durnie of Stantec Consulting describe maps as part of the County of Stettler Rural Water Servicing Strategy.

Richard Froese

Independent reporter

Extending healthy drinking water to all parts of the County of Stettler has stirred much interest and discussion, considering about 130 people attended an open house in Botha on Aug. 17, the first of five forums this week.

“There’s a lot of people in the County of Stettler who need water,” said Reeve Earl Marshall.

“We know some areas desperately need water,” said Darwin Durnie, principal of Stantec Consulting, which is facilitating the project under the County of Stettler Rural Water Servicing Strategy.

“The need for clean safe drinking water is growing in Alberta.”

With funding from the federal and provincial governments for the entire $64 million project, and current low construction cost, the county strongly believes that now is the opportune time to proceed with project.

“In the current state of the economy, we’re going to cut our costs in half,” said Marshall.

“We have to be in the ground by next fall to access these government grants.”

About 20 residents asked a variety of questions including the impact on taxes, fee structures, restrictions in a drought, declining population, and whether the Red Deer River has sufficient supply for the long-term future.

Currently the county is inviting rural property owners and residents to voluntarily commit to the system for the long-term.

The connection fee for basic service has been set at $10,000 at the time the system is being constructed or $15,000 for connections made after the initial construction.

This fee could be paid either in full upfront or over a 15-year period.

With the project proposed to start as phase 1 in the Botha, Gadsby, Byemoor and Endiang areas – connecting to the new Shirley McClellan line along Highway 12 – and Endiang and Byemoor – near the Starland-Stettler water line – residents in those areas are requested to submit expression of interest forms by Sept. 15.

For the remainder of the county, forms must be submitted by Sept. 30.

The first phase is set for the next two years while all stages would be expected to be complete by 2021.

Further open house sessions have been set for Aug. 18 in Byemoor, Aug. 19 in Big Valley, Aug. 20 in Donalda and Aug. 22 at Nevis, all from 6 to 8 p.m.

This funding, coupled with the current investments in the Starland-Stettler an Shirley McClellan regional water systems, enables the county to move forward with the Rural Water Servicing Master Plan,” said Marshall.

For more information, phone the county chief administrative officer Tim Fox at 403-742-4441 or your local councilor.