County of Wetaskiwin hears request for Heron Point wastewater help

Vacant lots at Heron Point causing much higher costs for those residents: letter

One community near Pigeon Lake involved in the new wastewater system isn’t completely happy with the County of Wetaskiwin.

During the Planning and Development meeting July 17, councilors read a memo from assistant CAO Jeff Chipley regarding a complaint that came from the community of Heron Point, which is located at the Village at Pigeon Lake, located on Hwy. #13.

Chipley’s memo stated, “On July 5, 2018, Mr. Rod Hawken, Chief Administrative Officer, received correspondence from Mr. Tom Karpa on behalf of several residents of the Heron Point area of the Village at Pigeon Lake, in regard to the approved local improvement for local wastewater collection lines within the Hamlet of the Village at Pigeon Lake. The correspondence sent by Mr. Karpa reads as follows:

‘Dear Mr. Hawken,

‘The residents of Heron Point of the Village at Pigeon Lake request Wetaskiwin County Council consider the following.

‘The residential property owners listed below believe their local wastewater tax improvement taxes have not been assessed using an approach consistent other county wastewater local improvements. (e.g. Village Lane condominiums, Beachside and Woodwind Estates, Village Creek Estates, Norris Beach, Viola Beach).

‘The residential properties of Heron Point were included in the commercial development of the Village at Pigeon Lake as a late addition and required further consultation.

‘The local wastewater improvement tax assessments are many times higher than other County residential wastewater improvements due to the large number of vacant undeveloped lots on Heron Point.

‘Our assessment is based on market value assessment rather than the customary practice of using average costs per lot.

‘The residents request the County approve the reduction of the per-residence on-lot costs by providing in good will the following at no cost: Grinder pump package purchase and installation and full electrical connection.

‘We consider this cost as part of the local improvement contingency necessary to finalize the complete connection to the wastewater system.

‘The residents offered their support to the wastewater project and believe it has long term benefits to the rural economy and the environment.’”

Chipley’s memo noted, “Should Council wish to approve the request made by Mr. Karpa on behalf of some of the residents in the Heron Point area, Administration estimates that the cost of the grinder pump packages, electrical work, and installation to be in the range of $6,000 to $8,000 per property, meaning that the County would contribute an additional $30,000 to $40,000 to these five (5) residences in total.”

Chipley said owners in the Heron Point development wouldn’t accept a per-lot approach for the wastewater system costs, and instead submitted a petition to the county approving an assessment approach with some conditions.

Chipley said the per-lot approach would have been about $16,000. He estimated the assessment approach should be cheaper for most.

Chipley pointed out, however, other residents in other communities with wastewater projects have paid for their own grinders and power. If council approved covering certain expenses for Heron Point, Chipley said it’s possible other residents will come forward from other communities requesting the same treatment

Councilor Ken Adair stated it was unfortunate that Heron Point was included in the commercial side.

“Between a rock and a hard place on this one,” said Adair.

Councilors voted in favour of accepting the request as information.

Stu.salkeld@pipestoneflyer.ca

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