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Saturday , 8 May 2021

M.D. drainage projects for 2021 listed on priority map

The M.D. of Bonnyville approved projects to help alleviate swamped infrastructure, flooded fields, and homes on Jan. 20.

The drainage priorities map was accepted as presented during M.D. council’s committee and staff will bring back a phased-in plan to tackle this list of growing drainage concerns in the municipality.

This year, $800,000 has been set aside in the operating budget for drainage.

“What they did that was great, though, is help council with putting different drainage problems into categories,” said Reeve Greg Sawchuk on The Morning After.

“You had ones that are the highest priority are those that are affecting municipal infrastructure. So we’re at risk of a bridge going out because of this drainage problem. Then you had risk to private property. So where there’s the potential for the water to spill out into a private homeowners acreage, or whatever, and threaten their home, their residents,” he said.

“Then the last one we had, were those where we see some of our wetlands and things growing, but are mainly on farmland where nobody’s getting hurt. We do certainly have a lot of land underwater right now. But it was the lowest on the priority. Again, just a lot of work went into this and a lot of thinking they didn’t do it lightly. The criteria were put in place to see where these things would fall. And now it’s just a case of trying to knock them off one by one. But there’s a lot of them out there.”

Amidst new projects this year, the M.D. also has carry-over projects from 2020 to continue tackling, outlined in their 2021 Budget and Business Plan.

2021 Projects (Carried Over) Drainage Projects

  • Ward 2 Hillside & Willow Ridge Drainage Improvements
  • Ward 6 Country Side & Country Lane Estates Drainage Improvements
  • Ward 2 Sunset Beach Road Repair & Drainage Improvements
  • Ward 2 Drouin Subdivision Drainage Improvements
  • Ward 5 Crane Lake Drainage Master Plan & Improvements
  • Ward 2 Pinsky Lake & Crawford Estate Drainage Improvements
The green areas represent high priority projects associated with public infrastructure. The aim is to reduce damage to road infrastructure or stop damage from being caused by road infrastructure. Usually involves work within the public road allowance and drainage infrastructure registered to the MD. The purple areas represent low priority projects residential communities. On a case by case basis, the M.D. may consider select projects where established residential communities are being impacted by flooding. The red areas are the lowest priority with projects protecting individuals. Requests to work on private property, not directly related to the construction and maintenance of public infrastructure. Requests to address overland drainage issues involving agricultural properties. Orange is completed projects. Image: M.D.

The total work listed is well over $20 million, said Sawchuk.

“Just with about a half a dozen of them and you are already at that probably close to the $20 million mark. And that doesn’t scratch the surface, but from what we’ve seen and part of the presentation we had yesterday, as well, was in regards to potentially lowering the water level of a wetland. Well, then you’re into paying for that compensation cost for a wetland being disturbed, and it gets very expensive when you’re going that route.”

Moose Lake area subdivisions a focus

M.D. council approved proceeding with minor regrading work to address the presented drainage issues from resident Beau Ferbey in Fontaine Subdivision at an estimated cost of $15,000 to be funded from the 2021 operating budget.

At the Jan. 27 meeting, council also gave direction to move forward on designs for Willow Ridge & Hillside Subdivisions, which is currently at 30 per cent.

Sawchuk said council has struggled to get approvals from the province, but so far, their latest design hasn’t been flagged.

“These projects do not move on as fast as I would like to see them go. But this one was very challenging. Our administration worked very hard, they would come up with a proposal, it would go through the engineers to Alberta environment, it would come back, I believe there was at least three proposals that were put forward and ideas. And somehow they fell apart,” said Sawchuk.

“Now they’re at this one, which they finally got buy-in from everybody, and so it’s at that early development stage. The next point in time, so now we’ve said, yes, go ahead with actually designing the system and come back with the full design and the cost. And we’ll go from there, but we have allotted in the budget about $2.2 million for this project alone.”

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.