“While an additional water supply will eventually be needed, in the meantime, there are other aspects of out water system that need more immediate attention and would be needed no matter where we get our water,” Director of Infrastructure and Sustainable Development, Kevin Henderson said in a written statement. “These include in increasing our water treatment capacity, storage and distribution to specific areas of our community.”
Phase 2 of the community consultation campaign provided more detailed information about the increase in cost to taxpayers to fund an additional water supply, such as a pipeline to the Peace River.
According to Henderson, this produced a shift in opinion and showed less support for an investigation into a new water supply source, as well as increased concern about the affordability of a water supply upgrade and willingness to pay.
“The results of this year’s SURE WATER campaign have provided more direction from our citizens and give the city more time to focus on other key water improvements to our network of pipes and water treatment and storage that will be needed, regardless of where out water comes from,” May Dale Bumstead said in the same written statement.
As a result of these findings, Mayor Bumstead and Councillors are asking staff to look at the cost and timelines to complete the following “more urgent” improvements to the water system.
- Upgrading the water treatment plant to increase the capacity necessary to handle current and future water sources
- Upgrading water distribution lines to accommodate increased water flows
- Expanding treated water storage capacity to ensure adequate water for fire protection
- Exploring funding sources that currently available such as grants or Fair Share that could be used to offset the need to increase water rates to cover the cost.
“We need to be able to expand our current distribution and treatment capacities to ensure water for fire protection and for servicing new areas of growth, such as those to the west and south. Mayor Bumstead adds. “We’ve already seen some challenges as market demand for new developments are placing greater demands on the system than it can readily handle. The issue isn’t about water supply; it’s about getting the water to these areas with enough water and water pressure to meet future protection flows.”
Once the report is completed and submitted to council, additional updates will be published to keep the community informed.