The atmosphere was one of great enthusiasm on Monday, under the midday sun at Rotary Lighthouse Park. Guests and dignitaries gathered at the park for an announcement by local and regional politicians on May 29, that Sylvan Lake will be the recipient of $37 million from the provincial government, in support of a local wastewater line.
The wasterwater line will run from the Town of Sylvan Lake to the City of Red Deer, where the line will link up to the regional wastewater treatment facility.
“It doesn’t take much to see why this region is one of the heartbeats of summer tourism in Alberta. When I look at the lake, I see an important resource that should be protected,” said Minister of Transportation and Minister of Infrastructure Brian Mason.
Mason said the wastewater line the provincial funding will support will protect the environment and help in dealing with water quality issues community leaders are facing in Sylvan Lake.
Mason noted that “this is about more than just money and projects – this is about quality of life. You should be able to turn on the tap and enjoy drinking water, and you shouldn’t have to worry about wastewater polluting nearby lands and waterways, or impacting wildlife.”
“Our government recognizes that smaller municipalities and rural communities need our support in order to provide drinking water to the homes of local residents,” said Mason. “It’s costly to provide proper waste water treatment facilities so that our land and water are protected. That is why our government is investing in the Water For Life and Alberta Municipal Wastewater Partnership grant programs.”
In an interview with the Sylvan Lake News after the official announcement, Mason remarked how beautiful Sylvan Lake is, and how vital it is to protect the environment in such an area, adding, “it’s a natural asset, and we recognize that there is a real need [for support] in this area.”
Mayor Sean McIntyre described the announcement as “momentous,” in addressing what has been Council and Town administration’s “number one priority” for the community, as of late.
“I want to thank Minister Mason for meeting with me and my representatives in February, hearing and understanding our need, and the importance of the situation. And for acting deliberately to help us address our challenges and plan effectively for our future,” said McIntyre.
“There is a great deal of work ahead of us now, and we are eager to take that on. And through this partnership…we are empowered to move forward to a more sustainable future,” McIntyre added.
The money allotted to the project in Sylvan Lake is part of a total of $131 million in provincial funding being provided by the provincial government for a number of important infrastructure projects. The funding is part of Water for Life and the Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater Partnership Grant program.
The funding will cover a significant portion of the $41.2 million project that constructing the wastewater line from Sylvan Lake to Red Deer will entail.
Thom Jewell, Chair of the Sylvan Lake Wastewater Commission, said that when the wastewater line is completed, and reaches the treatment plant in Red Deer from Sylvan Lake, it will be “almost like one of those click-locks on your hose.”
Jewell stated the line running from Sylvan Lake will be part of a larger series of lines running to the treatment plant in Red Deer from an assortment of other locations in Central Alberta.
The wastewater line is one of 29 water infrastructure projects in which the provincial government has made an investment. A media release from the Government of Alberta stated that altogether, the projects that have received federal funding will help sustain approximately 900 jobs in the province.