BONNYVILLE – The province anticipates the Moose Lake weir will be removed in the late summer or early fall of 2021.
According to Caroline Palmer, general manage of planning and community services for the MD of Bonnyville, the removal of the weir has been turned over to Alberta Transportation “who administers these projects and funds Alberta Environment and Parks with water capital projects.”
“Alberta Transportation is in the final stages of awarding tender to a qualified engineering consultation firm,” she told MD council during their June 24 meeting. “Due to some unknowns associated with timelines related to developing and decommissioning design plans, there’s regulatory approval applications that are required and potential public First Nations consultations, the actual decommissioning of the weir is conservatively scheduled for completion in later summer/early fall of 2021.”
Removing the Moose Lake weir was first brought up in 2017, when residents living around the area experienced flooding issues. The weir was believed to be part of the problem, and the MD approached the province to see what could be done.
Reeve Greg Sawchuk was surprised to hear how far along the province is in the process.
“I was half expecting that they were going to come forward with the public consultation prior to making the decision and turning it over to an engineering firm,” he explained. “So that does come as a bit of a surprise because I think that might have influenced some of the decisions. I know there’s a ton of interest out there and if they open it up to public consultation, I’m certain they’ll get a crowd.”
Palmer noted she isn't sure what kind of consultation will be taking place, but they'll be monitoring it closely to make sure consultation gets followed through on.
Council also voted in favour of taking over an access road from Alberta Transportation that leads to the weir, which will allow the municipality to get to a portion of their land.
“This road provides the only access to the MD quarter section and leased land, which is an existing gravel pit,” Palmer noted.
CAO Luc Mercier added it wouldn’t be considered a public road.
“We could leave it as a MD access road and this wouldn’t be registered as a road plan as we stand right now,” he detailed. “We would leave it as such to access for our land. I would suggest if it does access other lands that we would, in the future, maybe look into turning that into a MD road."