WASTEWATER SYSTEM - Several dignitaries were on hand for the official opening of the North Red Deer Regional Wastewater System. Todd Colin Vaughan/Red Deer Express

Federal Infrastructure Minister opens wastewater system in Lacombe

Minister Amarjeet Sohi discusses Trans Mountain Pipeline dispute

Alberta has completed a pipeline…just likely not the one you are thinking about.

Canadian Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Amarjeet Sohi and Province of Alberta Minister of Transportation Brian Mason were in Lacombe on May 4th to commemorate the completion of the North Red Deer Regional Wastewater System, which connects Lacombe, Blackfalds and Lacombe County to the wastewater treatment facility in the City of Red Deer.

The new completed system includes two major lift stations, emergency storage reservoirs and odour management measures.

The $71 million project was completed ahead of schedule and under budget, with the Federal Government contributing $29.8 million and the Province contributing $33.2 million — equalling 90 per cent of the total costs

“This is a project that the region has been asking for for a long time and we have been happy to work with Minister Mason of the Province of Alberta and the regional governments to make this project a reality,” Sohi said. “Part of our efforts is to make sure we are moving our communities towards environmental sustainability. We use water and wastewater needs to be cleaned before it goes back to the streams and creeks. If you don’t do that, you are contaminating the environment and you are contaminating the water.

“That is why this joint investment of $70 million is very important to ensure the water is clean.”

Mason said it is a great example of municipal collaboration the Province has been encouraging.

“I am very pleased with it and it is so gratifying to see the cooperation between the county, the cities, the Province and the Federal Government to make sure we can protect our environment and deal with our wastewater very effectively and efficiently,” Mason said. “It is part of a broader program that improves transportation, provides clean drinking water to people and makes sure that our lakes and rivers are kept as clean as possible.”

This wastewater system has the potential opportunity to expand to other municipalities in Central Alberta, including Sylvan Lake.

“I think we will wait and see what the Regional Wastewater Commission has planned but that is a key piece of it,” Mason said. “The Province has been encouraging municipalities over a number of years to centralize their wastewater so we minimize the output from treatment plants into our rivers and creeks.

“The treatment will be centralized in Red Deer and all of the surrounding region will have their wastewater as part of this network to be treated the most effectively and in the most environmentally stable way.”

Lacombe Mayor Grant Creasey said this project ensures continuity of the City’s core infrastructure.

“The transition to the regional wastewater transmission system assures our residents and businesses a high level of service well into the foreseeable future.” he said. “This new service also eliminates a significant barrier to development, and allows our community to grow and prosper.”

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer said this project highlights what municipalities working together can accomplish.

“Completion of this project highlights, once again, what can be accomplished when three orders of government recognize that people do not live, labour and recreate within the confines of a border,” she said. “It is partnerships like this that ensure we are successful in navigating the changing legislative, environmental and financial realities of today so that residents in Red Deer, and the region, have access to safe, reliable and effective waste water treatment services, while protecting our joint environmental responsibilities and objectives.”

Trans Mountain Pipeline

Minister Sohi also commented on the current dispute between British Columbia and Alberta regarding the construction of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline

“We approved Trans Mountain pipeline because we feel it is in the national interest,” he said. “We need to get our resources to market and it will help us create thousands of well-paying, middle-class jobs for Canadians, Albertans, British Columbians and everyone else.

“Our energy sector has contributed to prosperity and we appreciate that. That is why we focus on getting the Trans Mountain Pipeline built.”

Tensions have run high between both governments with Albertans fearing that Kinder Morgan could abandon the proposed project if delays continue.

“We are very confident we have the jurisdictional authority to get this project completed,” Sohi said. “We have the full confidence that we have the authority to do so and we will get this pipeline done.

“We are working with Kinder Morgan and the Province of Alberta exploring all legal, financial and legislative options that are available.”

todd.vaughan@lacombeexpress.com

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