Crystal Springs wastewater system will offer ‘opt out’

Crystal Springs wastewater system will offer ‘opt out’

Pigeon Lake resident points out deficiencies on both sides of wastewater issue

Dear editor,

I recently attended a meeting of the Crystal Springs council where the Lakewise group made another presentation expressing concern with the wastewater initiative.

Various points were raised and the Crystal Springs mayor had a thoughtful response for each of the concerns. In quoting from the recent Municipal Affairs inspection of his council, Mayor Churchill’s responses to Lakewise group’s concerns included: “Repeated council resolutions for additional reports appear to be an answer-shopping effort and an excessive attempt to appease one councilor in hopes of achieving consensus on the council decision” and “Council acted in an improvident manner by engaging duplicate contractors to complete the same task.” And finally, “Council engaged engineering experts to assist them in making reasoned, evidence-based decisions, and then second-guessed the expert advice they received.”

When the presenters then asked for information as to cost and homeowner subsidies, there were still no definitive answers. The mayor’s concluding quote was that the inspection thought that council did okay, “In spite of contrary opinions and a lack of wastewater consensus in the community and on the Crystal Springs council, leadership did occur and decisions were made in an appropriate public forum, following limited public consultation and after considering expert advice.”

All that being said, the truth is that Lakewise is correct that, unfortunately, most of the public remains in the dark about three key questions. The first question is whether or not the “low pressure” system will work adequately. The engineers who designed the Crystal Springs system are experts in this field. As a trained engineer myself, albeit in a different industry, I have asked many tough technical questions. The responses I received were complete and satisfied my own personal bias and concerns. But the broad public is still not aware that the engineering reports recommend a low-pressure system.

The second question is cost. The majority of council has assured us that resident costs will be nominal. Reserves have been established over the past few years with Municipal Affairs indicating that “Crystal Springs officials demonstrated good stewardship by planning ahead for capital works and approving budgets that contained transfers to reserves in order to fund anticipated projects such as sewer line installation and road work.” Of course, those who have to replace their entire system may have a larger bill, but faulty systems would have to be replaced anyway – at the homeowner’s full cost.

The third question is “opting out.” For the sake of lake health, I hope people don’t, but it is council’s plan to make connections voluntary. However, a compulsory by-law is still in place and council needs to formalize the decision to rescind it.

In conclusion, in the interests of avoiding further divisions within the community, I would have to say that while it is time for those opposed to the sewer to “let it go,” it is also past time for council to make all the necessary decisions and to communicate fully with residents.

Arnold Moerth, Crystal Springs

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Heath, Dr. Deena Hinshaw. Black Press file photo
 Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Heath, Dr. Deena Hinshaw. Black Press file photo
New COVID-19 death reported in the City of Wetaskiwin

COVID-19 updates for the City and County of Wetaskiwin.

Pictured left to right: Tyrone McDonald, Fire Chief Jamie Wilkinson, General Manager of Community & Protective Services Paul Edginton, Uwe Kurth (ASFA), City Manager Sue Howard, Deputy Fire Chief Alex Plant, Mayor Tyler Gandam. Photo/ City of Wetaskiwin.
City of Wetaskiwin Fire Services sends gear to firefighters in Paraguay

Former City of Wetaskiwin Fire Services member spearheading this initiative.

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported an additional 456 COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Five new COVID-19 deaths in Central zone, two in Red Deer

Province reports 456 new cases of COVID-19

File photo
Wetaskiwin Crime Reduction Unit recovers valuable stolen property

Property valued at over $50,000 recovered by Wetaskiwin Crime Reduction Unit.

Black Press file photo
Leduc RCMP arrest male for multiple break and enters and theft

34-year-old Michael Gilchrist has been arrested for his involvement in the thefts.

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canadian malls, conference centres, hotels offer up space for COVID vaccination centres

Commercial real estate association REALPAC said that a similar initiative was seeing success in the U.K.

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

In this March 28, 2017, file photo, a dump truck hauls coal at Contura Energy’s Eagle Butte Mine near Gillette, Wyo. Public opposition to the Alberta government’s plans to expand coal mining in the Rocky Mountains appears to be growing. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mead Gruver, File
Alberta cancels coal leases, pauses future sales, as opposition increases

New Democrat environment critic Marlin Schmidt welcomed the suspension

In this March 28, 2017, file photo, a dump truck hauls coal at Contura Energy’s Eagle Butte Mine near Gillette, Wyo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mead Gruver, File)
First Nations seek to intervene in court challenge of coal policy removal

Bearspaw, Ermineskin and Whitefish First Nations are among those looking to intervene

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau vows to keep up the fight to sway U.S. on merits of Keystone XL pipeline

Canada’s pitch to the Biden team has framed Keystone XL as a more environmentally friendly project than original

Central Alberta’s Catherine Hayreceived a letter from the Government of Canada recently stating she had to repay the government. Photo submitted
Central Albertan asked to repay CERB amount

Catherine Hay says she received a letter in November saying she had to completely repay the benefit

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
No Pfizer vaccines arriving in Canada next week; feds still expect 4M doses by end of March

More cases of U.K. variant, South African variant found in Canada

Most Read