The Wastewater Treatment Plant is getting $6 million in funding from the Small Communities Fund through the Alberta Government.
This grant funding was actually approved in August of 2015, however the City had not approved signing the agreement until the latest council meeting.
“There was a lot of discussion with Administration over the last two years about if we signed [for] the money would that relieve [the Alberta government] of any further commitments, so there’s always that concern,” says Mayor Gerald Aalbers.
He goes on to say that during conversations with Brian Mason, the Minister of Infrastructure, it was said that this funding is not all the Alberta government would be responsible for.
“I think [the funding] gives me some leverage to go back to the government and say you’ve made a commitment here under this program, we don’t have enough money and now all we’re asking is to access some additional monies under a new program and we can hopefully get to the wastewater treatment plant that we need.”
Whether part of the $6 million dollars can be used in the desludging of the lagoon is unclear. Currently the city is planning to pay for the $3 million desludging with the City’s reserve fund. Interim City Manager Rick McDonald said during the council meeting that when he asked the Alberta Government if this could be a use for the funding, the government said they wouldn’t review anything unless the funding was signed for.
Aalbers says this funding is a “positive step” and the City will continue to talk to both provincial governments and the federal government to secure more funding. The City is still waiting on a letter of extension that would give them until 2028 to have a new wastewater treatment plant in place. The cost of that project is $80 million.