Alberta Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda was in Lacombe to announce the approval the approval of an $8,522,800 regional water transmission line.
The approval of Phase 6 and 7, which includes $3,409,120 from the Federal Government, $4,261,400 from the province and $852,280 from the Highway 12/21 Regional Water Services Commission will help improve water provisions for Bashaw, Alix, Clive, Edberg, Ferintosh and the Counties of Camrose and Lacombe.
Panda said the investment is part of the $49-million infrastructure partnership between Ottawa, the province and Albertan municipalities.
“Building vital infrastructure is a key part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan. Ensuring communities and organizations can get started on the planning and construction of these ICIP projects figures prominently in our plan to create needed jobs and boost local economies where it matters most,” he said.
Panda said he was pleased to see Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr advocate heavily for this project. Orr remembers living in Clive when discussions for the need for this began.
“The long-term reality was that those wells they were relying on could go dry. They were concerned they needed a long-term better solution. One of the benefits of this is that it makes these communities viable long-term.
Panda said the project helps eliminate the need for older wells and that the scope of all their funding involves replacement of aging infrastructure.
“This project will provide these communities to eliminate dependence on aging infrastructure. This shifts their water supplies to long-term, safe supplies. It will also create about 45 jobs during the construction phase,” Panda said.
Commission Chair Brenda Knight said that construction will likely begin in the spring due to costs associated with winter constructed and the project should be completed in 2022.
“This, Phase 6 and 7, will bring the construction phase of our commission to completion. We started out in 2005. It has been 15 years and we are so pleased to be at this point.
Knight said that partnerships have been able to bring this project to fruition.
“Water is the the lifeblood of our communities and we appreciate it so much. These communities can thrive and grow and we will have eight rural municipalities that will be connected now,” Knight said.
Knight said the project has already has had economic benefits for the communities it serves.
Bashaw already has. Since they got onto the regional water, they have had an agricultural plastics recycling plant move into the town. They needed water in order to wash the plastics,” she said. “I’m hoping it will be able to provide growth in all these communities.”
Panda said projects like this have the potential to diversify the economy.
“We want to build on our strengths, but we also want diversify the economy. Agriculture is very important for this region and we are talking about irrigation projects across the province so we can grow more and provide more agrifood services,” Panda said.
Knight said the line allows communities to have water not being drained off natural aquifers and the project will serve these communities 100 years or more.
“Will there have to be upgrades, definitely, but this is a long-term solution to water,” she said.