Cold Lake water will soon be travelling even further.
On July 28, an open house on the latest regional waterline extension plans was held at the Marriott Hotel, where residents could see how the potable water will travel to Frog Lake.
The 47-kilometre extension will run through the municipal corridor towards Frog Lake, and was part of the initial approval that was put forward after the regional waterline was given the okay.
M.D. Reeve Greg Sawchuk chairs the Bonnyville Regional Water Services Commission and said the project recognizes water quality is an issue for many Indigenous communities.
“We were looking at the issue at hand, and we just came to the realization of ‘well, what’s a better source to get to these folks than Cold Lake water?'” remarked Sawchuk.
“What we’re waiting on right now is for the regional line to get finished, which should be in about a year, and once that’s in commission and running, we’ll be looking at supplying other communities.”
Elizabeth Métis Settlement and Fishing Lake settlements could be communities that would receive water from the extension since they’re “on the way” to Frog Lake.
Kehewin, however, would not be included due the reserve having gained a new water treatment plant.
On infrastructural changes that could result from the extension, Sawchuk said the decision will ultimately lay with Frog Lake since they fall outside of M.D. jurisdiction.
“The thing is with large infrastructure projects in a rural area, especially one such as Frog Lake, where many homes are more spread out than they would be in a town like Bonnyville or Cold Lake, is that when winter rolls in, frost can wear on pipes much faster, so that could lead to some pretty hefty maintenance costs.”
This preliminary open house is followed by regulatory review in the coming months, with design and land acquisition earmarked for next spring.
The project start date won’t begin until provincial funding is secured.
When asked if Bonnyville and the M.D.’s current issue with being saddled with roughly $10 million in overage charges could impact the extension, Sawchuk said this situation was separate from the extension as reserves are funded by the province.
“I think it’s only a matter of time for the town and province to come to an agreement.”
Associated Engineering is doing preliminary work on the project.