The City of Wetaskiwin is proposing a Municipally Controlled Corporation (MCC) structure for future water and waste water services in order to minimize the financial burden for local ratepayers due to the mandated construction of a new wastewater treatment plant.
City council scheduled a public hearing for Jan. 24, 022, at 1 p.m., after receiving a presentation from Graham Capital about the new wastewater treatment facility proposed MCC, Peace Hills Utility Inc., during the regular Dec. 13, 2021 city council meeting.
The city began exploring wastewater treatment facility options after being mandated by other orders of the government to upgrade its wastewater systems to meet new effluent regulations.
In 2020 the city conducted. Tendering process and received three submissions. With approval from council, administration selected the Graham Aquatera consortium as a business partner to provide the design, build, finance, and operations for the facility which is proposed to operate as an MCC.
“After a thorough review of options, opening an MCC was the only way the city could
afford to complete this mandated project. The province has agreed to allow the use of the $12.9 million dollar grant to be used as part of the P3 project which will help reduce the overall impact of the rate increase to citizens,” said Sue Howard, City Manager.
“Everyone is encouraged to review the documents and ask questions prior to the public hearing so you can let Council know what your thoughts are on January 24, 2022.”
The city says by establishing the proposed Wastewater Treatment Facility as an MCC, this partnership will ensure project financing can be secured and debt remains off the city’s balance sheet.
This partnership also allows the city to retain ownership of all assets related to the project while receiving the financial benefits of that ownership. Any surplus generated from the proposed water treatment facility would flow back into the community.
Aquatera, along with Graham Capital, is another core member of the proposed business partnership for this project and would be responsible for providing long-term operations and maintenance services to the city for both water and wastewater utilities.
Depending on the rate structure selected by city council for the proposed project, the construction of the MCC could cost between $40 million to $53 million.
Before the next steps of this project are finalized the city and council are inviting the public to share their thoughts about the proposed MCC at a public hearing on Jan. 24, 2022 at 1 p.m. at city hall.
During the public hearing the following information will be discussed:
• Services that MCC intends to provide
• Names of the shareholders of the MCC
• Geographic locations in and outside Alberta in which the MCC intends to provide services
• In the case of an MCC that intends to provide utility services and projected rate structure
• The market impact analysis contained in the business plan.
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