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Rural water and sewage project moving forward

Last Updated Nov 28, 2019 at 8:27 am MDT

PHOTO. The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.'s Jubilee Centre. MYMCMURRAY/Phil Wood.

RMWB Council on Nov. 26 was quite busy.

After a presentation from the Wood Buffalo Economic Development Corporation, they voted on a motion deciding the fate of photo radar.

Council agenda

Improved water servicing is well on its way to rural communities.

Council approved the Rural Water and Sewer Servicing’s Residential Service Connection Plan.

A project six years in the making, the administration also conducted a lot-by-lot assessment.

Due to the various sizes of lots and builds in rural communities, the assessment was mainly door-to-door.

The administration found 78 per cent of homeowners supported the plan, and were eager to participate in the voluntary program.

Residential lot owners would hire from a list of contractors to connect water and septic in their homes to the service.

The Service Connection Fee would stand at $10,000 per residential lot in Saprae Creek Estates.

However, owners from lots in all other communities will pay $16,000.

The difference in price is due to lots in Saprae Creek Estates not having a water cistern.

Owners may pay in one lump sum, or in monthly instalments amortized over a 25-year period.

For example, the current fee for Saprae Creek Estates owners is $71.00, and after connecting the monthly fee becomes $119.

Likewise, fees for all other rural communities is $71.00 and would be $145 after the connection.

However, by not connecting monthly rates would be $406 for Saprae Creek and $982 for all others.

The rise in rates for not connecting would factor solid waste pickup by the Municipality, and private water delivery and septage pickup.

The cost of the service connections is between $42.5-55.5 million.

The budget was $40-million, while the Service Connection Fees make up $13.2-million.

The administration shall return to Council with a Residential Service Connection Bylaw in February.

Expropriation

RMWB Council voted to set aside a motion centred around the development of Saline Creek Parkway.

If passed, the motion would enable the administration to expropriate land located near Draper Road it deems crucial for the secondary egress road.

Council learned that talks between the Municipality and the landowner broke down to the extent the RMWB lost contact.

Therefore, Council decided for deferral to give the administration and the owner more time.

Mayor Don Scott said he feels land ownership is sacred as there are grave consequences to expropriation.

“It’s something I’m extremely reluctant to do. The decision to expropriate will be put off for a couple of weeks, and there’s going to be more effort made to reach this [land] owner.”

He added expropriation should only be a last resort measure.

According to the administration, there are no alternatives for the roadway due to topography and slope stability.

The estimated cost for the secondary egress road is $85-million over multiple years.

Council will discuss this motion again on Dec. 10, 2019.