Grant awarded for regional water study

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Residents of the Triangle area and neighbouring municipalities demanding potable water to their home for many years may be getting it sooner rather than later.

A regional grant of $200,000 was recently awarded from the provincial government for Big Lakes County, the M.D. of Smoky River and the M.D. of Greenview to conduct a water study.

Through the Alberta Community Partnership (ACP) program, the government approved the grant for the Inter-municipal Collaboration component of the Triangle and Highway 747 Collaboration Potable Water Study project.

News was announced in a letter dated March 21 from Municipal Affairs Minister Rebecca Schulz to the applicant, the M.D. of Smoky River.

“The purpose of the study is to prepare a functional planning and scope study for the potential extension of the existing water systems in the Triangle, Highway 747 and Sunset House areas,” says Kevin Cymbaluk, county director of public works.

He gave brief details at Big Lakes council meeting April 12 when a delegation of Triangle-area residents spoke about their demands to extend potable water to their area.

Cymbaluk released full details in an e-mail to South Peace News on April 24 after the three partners met April 14.

Reeve Robert Nygaard says the partnership is a big boost to all three municipalities since funding for rural water projects dried up in the past few years.

“We continue to lobby the government to put more money into rural water systems,” Nygaard said as he spoke to the delegation April 12.

“We have a better chance of getting funding for projects with this partnership of three municipalities.

“This is the best opportunity we’ve had in a long time.”

Smoky River was the applicant for the grant and is facilitating and co-ordinating many aspects of the project in collaboration with the two other partners.

“All three municipalities are looking forward to establishing the framework for the development of a possible future water system in this interconnecting area,” Cymbaluk says.

He notes the current inter-municipal development plans and inter-municipal collaborative frameworks will be used as guiding documents throughout the process.

“Grant funding opportunities are also important to the potential development of a system and will be explored in conjunction with the study,” Cymbaluk says.

Citizen consultation and engagement will be part of the study.

“An important aspect of the study is to consider future requirements and evaluation of historical water use rates,” Cymbaluk says.

“Standard design parameters from Environment and Protected Areas and other relevant agencies will be incorporated into the evaluation.”

Initial steps of the study will include a functional planning and scope study to determine the feasibility of the possible expansion of the water systems in the area, Cymbaluk says.

Consideration will be given to water supply, distribution, storage, potential rechlorination, emergency service requirements, truck fill needs and pressure levels.

Existing information form previous studies will be reviewed and additional topographic, survey, geographic database layers and other available tools will be used in the first phase of the study.

Triangle-area residents expressed their need to extend potable water to Big Lakes council April 12.

“We want to get water to Triangle,” says Henry Nyberg, president of the Pioneer Threshermans Association, who own and operate the Triangle Hall and land 15 km west of High Prairie.

Dale Nelson says a growing number of people are committed to connect.

“We’ve been working on this for seven years and we’ve got the interest,” Nelson says.

He notes potable water would be great for events at Triangle Hall and grounds.

High Prairie East – Banana Belt Councillor Tyler Airth says demand for potable water is high.

“I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want the water,” Airth says.

Nelson was delighted by the news.

“It’s nice to see it moving forward.”

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