Red Deer City council has approved a water transmission line that will service the Town of Sylvan Lake.
The Sylvan Lake Regional Water Commission recently requested the City’s support for the supply of City water to the Sylvan Lake regional communities.
This includes building a transmission line from the City to the Sylvan Lake area. City administration said the City’s water treatment plant currently has capacity to accommodate the Sylvan Lake region demands.
Administration requested a number of requirements be added before consideration for approval. These include the water cannot be used for agriculture purposes, full costs of capital and operating needs are borne by the commission, the commission needs to obtain a license to draw from the Red Deer River and the City maintains operation of the existing treatment plants, among others.
Elaine Vincent, director of development services for the City, said regulatory approval of the treatment and transmission line could take anywhere between 12-18 months. She added the Town of Sylvan Lake will also begin to look for funding sources for the line and that Red Deerians will not see a financial impact of the new development.
Some questions were also raised by council in terms of how much can be drawn out of the Red Deer River.
“I do want to remind people that we have the only river with any capacity and we need to continue to be vigilant in terms of what we do,” said Councillor Lynne Mulder. “We don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves when we know there could be a lot of other ‘asks’ coming.”
Vincent added in terms of the amount of water that can be drawn from the Red Deer River and with the request from Sylvan Lake, the City is no where near capacity.
“In fact, the Sylvan Lake request could almost be 10-fold of what it is before we even make a mark in terms of getting close to what those draw numbers are off the Red Deer River,” said Vincent.
Councillor Dianne Wyntjes said working with neighbouring communities is always a positive thing. “I was pleased to see in our recommendation that we are including Sylvan Lake having ongoing water conservation programs and initiatives, similar to those that we have here in the City as well as recognizing that in case of inadequate water supply such as drought, failure or other causes the Sylvan line must restrict the customer use of water similar to what Red Deer does,” she said.
“I appreciate that we are all in this together. We have one main river and many municipalities draw upon the Red Deer River for their water, of course Red Deer being the largest, and now we are expanding that.”
Mayor Tara Veer said she was also in favour of the water transmission line.
“I think there are a couple of positives in this agreement – one is the cost of both the capital and operating will be borne by the commission and the Town of Sylvan Lake themselves,” she said. “I also think from a regional perspective it does uphold our role as a regional hub particularly as we grow and because of our central positioning on the corridor and it is in alignment with our efforts to protect the watershed.”
City council voted unanimously in favour of the water transmission line. Councillor Paul Harris was absent.
Story by Erin Fawcett provided courtesy of the Red Deer Express, a sister publication of the Sylvan Lake News.