Resort Proposal Open House Sparks Questions

 

The Watermere Local Area Structure Plan Open House hosted by private developer Dansol International Inc. was held on March 26 at the Thorsby Community Hall. Watermere Resort is proposed to be a privately owned resort featuring residential (single family, duplexes, town houses, multi-family dwellings and mixed residential—vacation, retirement, and recreational) and commercial development with hotel and spa on 309.73 acres north-west of Pigeon Lake, opposite Zeiner Park on the west side of Highway 771. 
Development plans were on display to provide information and to generate public feedback before Dansol makes its official public presentation to Leduc County. 
Land Use: The proposed 1149 dwelling units housing an estimated 2710 residents—comply with the density requirements of Leduc County’s North Pigeon Lake Area Structure Plan (NPLASP). 108 acres of the resort will be left as Parks and Green Areas. 39 acres are designated for Stormwater Lakes.
Water: 
Water/wastewater services are designed to be self-sustaining and quite unique in that the planners say they will have little environmental impact on the surrounding areas or Pigeon Lake.  
Four lakes, constructed on the property, will play an important part in the development’s water supply strategy.  Stormwater ponds will supply the developments’ potable water. Because the stormwater quality needs to be maintained at a high level, construction activity will be restricted to development sites. That way, erosion and compaction on open space ground water recharge areas will be limited.
Water will be withdrawn from these lakes with an independent system of pumps, mains and hydrants. Water for gardening will be provided in conjunction with the firefighting water supply and will be provided on a controlled flow basis. 
Treatment will be provided as required by Alberta Environment. Water withdrawn from the lakes will provide the on-site treated potable water for the development.  
But what if there is a prolonged drought? Groundwater that is available from wells located on the property could be pressed into service to supplement the surface water. Groundwater could be drawn from deep aquifers to protect groundwater supply from the shallower aquifer to existing users. 
Dr. Bruce Jank, CEO for Canadian Clean Water Technologies Inc. and Senior Engineer on the project, said the development will feature unique, and fully self-contained water services—water treatment and distribution, and a wastewater treatment plant. Water drawn from the on-site lakes specifically developed to detain runoff on the property will be treated to normal potable standards and used in gardening.
Wastewater treatment strategy: 
        Still to be approved by Alberta Environment: wastewater, which will be collected by a gravity collection system which conveys sewage flows by gravity to a lift station which will pump the effluent to the sewage treatment plant.  
        The sewage treatment plant will provide advanced treatment that will meet drinking water standards and then discharge the water to a constructed wetland in the north east portion of the site.
Conservation
        Dansol claims it will implement an environmentally sustainable servicing strategy that follows Alberta Environment’s Water for Life strategy. Aggressive water conservation methods will be employed with low flow water faucets, shower heads and toilets; low water consumption dishwashers and washing machines; point of use water heaters will be standard.  It is expected that no more than 130 litres per capita day lpcd will be used (compared to the national average of 325 lpcd).
        Reuse will be achieved by the capture and storage of runoff for primary and secondary uses such as meeting the daily water demand, irrigation, and cooling.
While Dansol International has done several other developments, this one, with its particular focus on being innovative, environmentally friendly and adopting Low Impact Development design principles, offers something unique to Alberta.  
Danny Soleja, CEO of Dansol said, “There is a demand for this type of innovative service. It has not been done in Alberta before and is a perfect opportunity for it. We are incorporating innovative ways—especially the water treatment and distribution and wastewater treatment.” 
Lakes:
        Four lakes, Storm Water Management Facilities, that will be strategically placed within the development, will capture runoff. Control structures will be provided on the northeastern lake and southern lake to control the outflow to predevelopment standards, so any runoff exiting from the resort will not be more than the predevelopment flows.  Three of the lakes will be connected by a stream.
        Water from the southernmost lake will be pumped up to the northwestern lake and decant into the central lake, and then back into the southern lake. The plans also call for a running brook lined with rip-rap.
Going Green
        Peter Yackulick, a rural land use planner on the project, is excited about the open park spaces—33% of the gross area will be left “green.” 
        “It will be a very pleasant residence for those who are attracted to a quiet country lifestyle.  We will be retaining native vegetation in undisturbed areas and wild grasses will be introduced to emulate the natural environment.  This will cut down on the need to water.”      
        Landscape tech Kerry Buksa said shrubby peatland in the Northwest corner will be preserved for wildlife habitat and green space. “We will be putting in larch and tamarack. The overall feeling will be enhancing nature.” 
         A wet area in the northeast is being enhanced into a lake, with shallow riparian areas which will promote the growth of cattails and aquatic vegetation, and provide an enhanced habitat for birds and amphibians.     There is a peat layer on the southern peripheral which is being designed as a large 10 hectare lake, which along with being a stormwater management tool, is a source of raw water supply, pending Alberta Environment’s approval.     
        If recreational activities make you happy, there will be areas for tennis, volleyball, basketball, playgrounds and wheelchair-friendly walking trails throughout the green areas. 
        The Watermere Resort LASP says, “In keeping with the North Pigeon Lake Area Structure Plan’s goal to direct development away from the lakeshore, Watermere does not have direct access to Pigeon Lake.  The natural environment and on site amenities will address the needs of most users.”  
        However, because Pigeon Lake is a primary draw, lake-based recreation will be a priority via Pigeon Lake Provincial Park (Zeiner Park in particular). Pedestrian access to the lake and the highway crossing will be subject to Alberta Transportation requirements. The Leduc County’s Lake Access Levy will be used to meet public recreation needs and are expected to address the demand for lake access as it evolves over the anticipated 15 years of development. 
County response:
        Leduc County Mayor John Whaley said Council wanted to first hear what the public had to say about the development before Council responded publically to it.
         “The North Pigeon Lake Area Structure Plan (which provides a policy framework to manage land uses for orderly and environmentally conscious development around the lake) was actually funded and done by these developers (Dansol) because the County didn’t have the staff or the manpower to do it at that time.” 
        He recalls when the NPLASP Public Hearing was held in October of 2010, it was attended by well over 100 people who all spoke against it, but Council passed it anyway, 5:2.  
        Council has received between 50 and 80 emails as soon as the notice of the Watermere Resort LASP was posted on the Leduc County website. 
        “A lot of people are asking serious questions [as to] why we would approve it without safeguards put in place,” reports Whaley. “Certainly the lake is a big concern. I don’t see it as NIMBY-ism. I see it as genuine concern for the lake itself.”  
        He goes on to say that most people are asking what the impact is going to be. “That’s a good question to ask. We really need to ask someone who understands the environment better…to give us some answers.”
What comes next?  
        On April 24th there will be a comprehensive report put together by County staff members and they will make a report to Council based on all the information they’ve received from Dansol, as well as the feedback from the public. 
        At that time, Council will make a decision regarding what it wants to do.  What are Council’s options?  
        According to Whaley, Council could ask for more things to happen; they could ask for information; they could say, ‘We don’t want to go there’; or go straight to a Public Hearing—the official, formal part where the public can get involved.
        Whaley says he can’t predict when it will go to a Public Hearing, “I think we are a little ways from that yet. The report should be out to the public that day or the following week, depending on what’s in the report and as long as there’s nothing unusual in it.  We want to be as open and transparent as we can.”  
        He closed by saying Council has a lot of concerns. “We’ve asked many of the same questions the public has asked. We want some answers too.”
We’ve Got Questions: 
        The Pigeon Lake Watershed Association submitted a detailed document to Leduc County listing its concerns about the Watermere Resort LASP: the valuable wetland location makes it the wrong place; there are a number of issues with the plan and infrastructure that make it the wrong design; and the state of the health of the lake makes it the wrong time.  Until these issues are addressed, the group respectfully requests that the LASP not be approved. The document and letters may be viewed online.
More Stories:
  • Lions' International Life Membership Award The shiny metal Lions’ International Life Membership Card received by Wetaskiwin Lion, Isabel Peters, on November 24, 2014, is a symbolic recognition of her long time, dedicated service to the Club. The card was presented ...
  • Piatta Forma Singers Perform With The Black Gold Community Band Leduc choir Piatta Forma Singers joined the Black Gold Community Band in an outstanding concert held at Peace Lutheran Church in Leduc city’s downtown core, on the evening of Saturday December 6th. Piatta Forma Singers, a ...
  • Ben Turner - Liberal Hopeful A local man wants to change the face of Parliament. Twenty-two-year-old Ben Turner is vying for a Liberal nomination to run in the newly created Edmonton-Wetaskiwin riding in the next federal election. “I’m not too pleased ...
  • 600 & Counting For Telford Singers On a recent snowy and cold winter night, the Telford Singers celebrated an iconic milestone as they presented their 600th performance to a large crowd of appreciative residents, families and staff of Planeview Place. This ...
  • Millet Winter Carnival On Sunday, December 07, 2014 Millet held the second year of its Winter Carnival. At 10:00 am, the Millet Agriplex was filling with participants, volunteers, families, friends and Santa. The day started with a Carnival put ...
  • Leduc Fundraiser Welcomes Danielle Smith Wildrose members and ‘politically-curious’ residents gathered on Wednesday, December 3rd for a fundraiser hosted the Leduc-Beaumont Wildrose Constituency Association, promoting the Wildrose candidate for our region, Sharon ...
  • The Ash Girl The Wetaskiwin Composite High School (WCHS) Drama troupe performed Timberlake Wertenbakers’ ‘The Ash Girl’ running December 46, 2014. During the first couple of minutes of the performance, one was surprised by the sophistication ...
  • Twas The Night Before Christmas (Almost) Submitted by T.A. Phillips Recreation Coordinator, Town of Calmar After two years in the waiting, the residents of Calmar finally had their very own Christmas in the Park last night, December the 4th. Poor weather over the ...
  • CP Holiday Train 2014 The Christmas spirit swung into full force in Wetaskiwin at 5:30 p.m. on December 8th, 2014 with the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train 2014. The train began its journey to raise awareness of the issue of hunger ...
  • A Memorable Ride For the first time this year, Food Bank executives were invited to ride aboard the CPR Holiday Train from Millet to Leduc, representing the Leduc and District Food Bank, Gert Reynar, executive director and Nadine Leming, ...
  • Check Stop On Highway 2A Amid a vast array of flashing lights on Highway 2A in front of the Super 8 Lodge in Wetaskiwin, vehicles were ushered through a Check Stop on December 6th, 2014. Only this time it was a Charity Check Stop where motorists ...
  • 15th Concert In The Country Pig Roast When you combine good food and good music, you have the delightful kind of evening that Millet’s Concert in the Country held for its 15th annual fall Pig Roast. The succulent pork from a whole roasted pig with all the trimmings ...
  • Thorsby Curling Club Donates $27,338 Submitted By Sam Kobeluck Thorsby Curling Club, which has been inactive since the late 80s, has turned over $11,000 to the Thorsby Elementary School for the purchase of a set of handbells for the music program, and a total ...
  • Annual Rotary Cruise Raffle On the bitterly cold morning of Saturday November 29, the exit lobby of Canadian Tire in Leduc saw a table set up with cheerful Rotary Club of Nisku-Leduc members selling tickets to the Annual Cruise Raffle, a popular fundraiser ...
  • CHIPS Went Shopping And Found Wetaskiwin Mall The 2014 CHIPS (Children’s Indoor Play Society) Winter Carnival was held on November 29th, 2014 in the Wetaskiwin Mall in the old Canadian Tire / Western RV space from noon till 4 pm. There were many squeals of excitement, ...
  • Danger At Highway 21 A heartbroken mother wants something done about the deadly intersection that took her daughter’s life. Using the opportunity for the public to speak to Leduc County Councillors on any topic at their Nov. 25 meeting, Shelley ...
  • 7-Year-Old Hero A seven-year-old boy continues to receive accolades for his heroism. t the Nov. 24 City of Leduc council meeting, Brandon Irwin was presented with a Leduc Achievement Award for the actions that saved the life of four-year-old ...
  • Local Woman Needs Community Support Imagine that you’re facing brain surgery, with an estimated recovery time of up to six months. Now imagine that you have $800.00 a month to do it on. This is the reality for one Wetaskiwin woman. Tracey Schmidt’s health struggles ...
  • 50 Years Broadcasting The Gospel The annual Far East Broadcasting Banquet in Wetaskiwin celebrated 50 years as a Canadian organization; brought news that Bob Bowman, founder of FEB Radio International in 1945, had passed away on March 12, four days before ...
  • Lakedale LightHorse 4-H Club By Kate Harink, Club Reporter And we’re off! The Lakedell Lighthorse Club has re-united for the 2014-2015 season. We have come to use our heads for clearer thinking, our hearts for greater loyalty, our hands for larger service, ...




 
  • Leduc Radio Ad
  • Industrial Netmedia
  • Industrial Netmedia
  • Industrial Netmedia