More discussion planned on merits of remote shops for Lacombe County

An ongoing debate on the merits of Lacombe County having remote shops in its east and west districts will return to county council

An ongoing debate on the merits of Lacombe County having remote shops in its east and west districts will return to county council for a decision in April.

On Jan. 23, county councillors deferred a proposal to implement a business plan that would see one remote shop constructed on the north side of Sylvan Lake on Rainy Creek Road in 2015, and another in the Tees area in 2016 or 2017.

Manager of Operations Phil Lodermeier said some councillors required more information before proceeding with the business plan, but he feels it’s just a matter of time before administration receives the go-ahead.

“We’ve been planning this for many, many years,” he said. “We actually bought some land for the remote shop in the west country in 2006, and we’ve been budgeting, and now we have enough money.

“I suspect that, being we’ve been budgeting and planning for it, the shops will go ahead at some point in time. I think whether we do it now or whether we do it three years from now is what council is still debating.”

If approval is given in April, site preparation on county-owned land at Rainy Creek Road could begin this fall.

Tendering could also take place this year, with construction following in 2015.

The shop would act as the home base for Sylvan Lake- and Eckville-area grader districts, and residents of those areas would benefit from improved service levels, according to Lodermeier.

“With all the paved roads out in that area right now, what happens is we start here in Lacombe, and they have to drive out there before they start, and then every time they run out of sand, they have to drive all the way back to Lacombe,” he said.

“What we wanted to do was have a shop and a salt shed out there, and then that would really reduce the amount of time it takes them to complete their route out in that area.”

Two grader operators would likely work out of the shops in summer, while additional winter staff could include a truck driver and a tractor operator, said Lodermeier.

Total project costs are estimated at $2,716,255 for the west shop, and $1,811,175 for the east shop.

A second east shop may also be considered in the future, although Lodermeier estimated that it could be 10 to 15 years before that one’s constructed, if approved.

County councillors requiring more information about the shops were asked to submit questions to administration, prior to further discussion on the matter in April.