Huge news was received in regards to the regional waterline from the Provincial Government this week, says Mayor of Bonnyville Gene Sobolewski. “I’ve been doing the happy dance around town for the last two days and singing a happy tune.” The waterline is one step closer to be built after the Province announced $5.9 million being invested into the engineering of the line that’ll bring Cold Lake water to Bonnyville; and surrounding areas.
The Province awarded the nearly $6 million dollars early this week; however there is much more invested in the project, explains Mayor Sobolewski, “when you factor in the other contributions that are mandatory with the Water for Life it’s about $7.2. That’s to get the engineering done.” Earlier this year the Provincial Government awarded an Alberta Community Partnership grant to get the Town and City of Cold Lake through the study phase of the waterline. Cold Lake had felt it important to ensure the lake would sustain the extra draw from the water body. This study is yet to be completed, explains Mayor Sobolewski, “we’ve got an RFP (request for proposals) we’re going to be circulating, right away with our partners. We’ll be contracting that to the lucky consultant, whomever gets it, to start working on the governance.”
Mayor of Cold Lake Craig Copeland says he’s eager for the extra work this’ll bring to the city, “there’s a good possibility that local companies can bid on some of this work; it’s very competitive out there for contractors, so the more work we can put out the better chances we have to put people to work.” The City of Cold Lake also received around $600,000 for their waste water lagoons, confirms Mayor Copeland. “It’s encouraging that the Government is spending money in our area, it’s long overdue and I’m quite excited that we’re starting to see some money up here.”
“We’re hoping Alberta starts to prosper again and that within two-year we see the funds for the waterline to come through,” explains Mayor Sobolewski. One could assume with all the money the Provincial Government is putting into this project that the approval is on the horizon. “They’ve committed to the engineering, and once you commit to the engineering [the next step is project approval],” says Mayor Sobolewski.
“I’m very grateful to the Province of Alberta,” Mayor Sobolewski explains the Town has been working hard with the Province to make this happen. “We’ve had a lot of meetings with the government, they were really listening and they’re moving [the waterline] forward. I’m very happy with our partners, the Cold Lake Regional Utilities Commission, the MD of Bonnyville and Cold Lake First Nations, for raising the awareness and concerns they have with this project.”
“It’s been a long journey, but it’s definitely encouraging that there’s money being allocated to it,” states Mayor Copeland. “Drinking water is a huge health concern, it’s encouraging that the Province is investing in the project.” Encouraging, but preliminary, explains Mayor Copeland, “we still need to flush out what the scope of the work is, what the project will be, who’s going to be on the pipe, what municipalities will be involved and where [Cold Lake] First Nations is on all of that. We need to understand the funding contributions, who’s funding what. Questions still need to be answered, we’re looking forward to hearing back from the Government on all that.”
Should everything run smoothly, Mayor Sobolewski anticipates a two-year time line for the waterline.