Municipalities say many challenges in 2017. There were funding concerns, carbon tax implications, and the minimum wage raise. But for the County of Wetaskiwin, Town of Millet and City of Wetaskiwin there were also many successes.
Across the board, nine projects between the three municipalities helped define the region in 2017.
In 2016 the County of Wetaskiwin saw a flash flood in the west portion of the county destroy two bridges and wash out the township roads 470 and 472.
In late August of that year the Buck Lake area saw nearly historic rainfall; the highest flow in this area recorded since the gauge was operational was in 1986 at 275m3/s. There was another high flow in 1990 that was recorded at 185m3/s. Additional data from Alberta Environment’s website indicated in real time data that there was a high flow August 23, 2016 that peaked around noon that was 180m3/s.
At the time is was estimated the compromised roads, bridges, culverts and other infrastructure received approximately $3.5 million in damages.
Through the Disaster Recovery Program the county was granted $2.4 million to help cover expenses.
“One of the closed roads has been re-opened,” said assistant CAO Rod Hawken, referring to Township Road 470.
Township Road 472 is expected to re-open in the spring of 2018.
Along with the Disaster Recovery funding, the county also received other provincial and federal grants which helped with bridge repair and other county infrastructure. Grant funding of $3.7 million went to paving Rose Creek Road, Township Road 470 to the Pigeon Lake Provincial Park, and Range Road 240; eight kilometers total.
The County’s second prominent project was the Alder Flats Lagoon expansion and hamlet wastewater expansion, for which the county received $3.4 million in grant funding.
“To upgrade the current system in the Hamlet of Alder Flats,” said Hawken.
Once the system is completed it will replace a number of septic tanks in the area, or tie them into the system, says Hawken.
Thirdly, Hawken recognizes the grant provided to community group through council.
“Council provided $1.13 million to community groups for facility operations and/or programming,” said Hawken.
Town of Millet mayor Tony Wadsworth says some of the communities most prominent projects addressed the short, mid, and long-term futures.
Under the short-term perspective, the Town of Millet was named the winner in the Class of Champions (Medium) category for Communities in Bloom. The national and international communities in bloom ceremonies took place in Ottawa-Gatineau from Sept. 13 to 16, 2017.
Millet is an avid participant in the Communities in Bloom program, and this win has given the community a national and international presence.
“For a small town like Millet this is a great achievement,” said Wadsworth.
In an interview with the Pipestone Flyer Wadsworth thanked all the members and volunteers of the Millet in Bloom Committee and recognized them for the Class of Champions achievement.
In May of 2017 the Town of Millet signed the agreement for the development of Lakeside Meadows.
Wadsworth calls this the town’s medium-term impact project and in the next 10 years approximately 1,200 homes are scheduled for development.
When the development is complete Wadsworth says the hope is the town’s population will have grown from just under 2,000 to 4,500; and with the residential development comes community growth.
“There’s a complete variety of housing types,” said Wadsworth.
“One of the phases will be a senior’s home phase,” he added.
This year also saw the final grand opening of the Millet waterline. Approximately 27 kilometers of pipeline was used to bring North Saskatchewan River water to the residents of Millet, some of whom have been waiting decades for the promise of better water to deliver.
“We were thrilled. After 20 years of waiting we were thrilled to get the waterline from the City of Edmonton,” said Wadsworth.
The waterline delivers the Town of Millet superior water quality and as much as the community could need, says Wadsworth. “And that will go a long way for industrial development in Millet.
The year 2017 also saw the completion of the Main Street beautification redesign in the City of Wetaskiwin.
Plans for the redesign first originated in 2010. “It was a thrill to get that complete,” said city manager Dave Burgess. Jubilee Park and the interface were also completed as well.
“I think the one noticed most by the public was the street overlays,” said Burgess.
In 2017, $1 million was spent on street overlays, which had not been done since 1980. The overlay extends the lifespan of the roads by 10 to 20 years. “The investment is so much more sound,” said Burgess.