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Sunday , 17 January 2021

Stormwater project could pave way for development in Cold Lake South, city says

A long-awaited project that will aid future development in Cold Lake South has the green light after the city received help cutting years’ worth of red tape.

The Fischer Stormwater Management Pond has been a project on Cold Lake’s books for over 17 years.

The project began as a public-private partnership to create the stormwater pond, located in Cold Lake South, west of Highway 28 and 42 Avenue.

The stormwater management facility is necessary the city says in order to facilitate future development in Cold Lake South, and was identified as a key piece of the City’s 2003 Master Drainage Plan.

“This important project was stalled for years until MLA David Hanson, Environment Minister Jason Nixon, and Premier Jason Kenney himself stepped in to break a logjam in the bureaucracy,” Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland said.

“This project was caught up in red tape for about 13 years: For 13 years we were being told that the necessary approvals were just around the corner, but they always proved to be just out of reach. Our thanks go out to MLA Hanson for realizing that this project was stalled beyond reason, and raising the issue to government.”

The necessary planning, legal agreements, environmental approvals, and land transfers for the stormwater pond began in 2007, however, the project was mired in bureaucracy and red tape, the city said in a press release, stalling in 2015 and costing the project both time and funding.

The City of Cold Lake continued to lobby for progress on the file and the necessary approvals for the next five years.

“This is a very complex venture where private developers were willing to come to the table and help fund a project that would allow for growth in the community well into the future,” Chief Administrative Officer, Kevin Nagoya, said.

“This stormwater management facility is required in order to accommodate future development in Cold Lake South. All new development requires stormwater to be contained, and while there are many exciting opportunities for commercial and residential development in Cold Lake South, they all require this facility to be built for them to happen.”

With the approvals now in hand, the City of Cold Lake has awarded a construction contract to local firm Urlacher Construction, which is being supported by the local engineering firm SE Design. The total construction cost is approximately $2 million.

The stormwater pond will include landscaped green space with trails that will be able to be linked to the city’s trail system.

“This stormwater facility will benefit the aesthetic in the area, the project will help keep local firms and workers busy in difficult times, and it will allow developers to look at exciting opportunities in Cold Lake South that, up to this point, were not a possibility,” Copeland said.

“On the face of it, this is just another simple stormwater project, but in reality, it’s hard to overstate the benefits this little project will have over the years.”

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.