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A tale of two water pipelines

Based on information from a feasibility study completed by Associated Engineering in 2009, the County of St. Paul has decided to support two separate water pipeline projects.

Based on information from a feasibility study completed by Associated Engineering in 2009, the County of St. Paul has decided to support two separate water pipeline projects.

The northwest system, which is expected to be completed this year, includes an 8.1 km pipeline from Ashmont to Lottie Lake and upgrades to the Ashmont water treatment plant, said County CAO Sheila Kitz, in an email to the Journal.

The system will be supplied by ground water out of the Beverly Channel. The water treatment plant in Lottie Lake will become a water reservoir, thereby reducing the number of water treatment plants operated by the County.

The cost of the project is estimated at $4.6 million. The provincial Water for Life grant will cover 90.65 per cent of the costs, up to $4,169,737.

In the future, the northwest system may connect to Mallaig as well, but further development would be dependent on grants. This portion of the system is not part of the responsibilities of the Regional Water Commission, and will be directly owned and operated by the County of St. Paul, said Kitz.

The St. Paul-Elk Point water pipeline would be managed by the Regional Water Commission, which includes three members from the Town of Elk Point, three members from the County of St. Paul, and one non-voting member from the Town of St. Paul.

The Town of St. Paul opted out of membership in the commission because it want sto maintain control of the water treatment plant, said Town CAO Ron Boisvert. Approximately $4.1 million in upgrades to the St. Paul Water Treatment Plant will be required but the province will cover all the costs, said Boisvert.

Although the majority of councillors from the Elk Point voted in favour of joining the water commission, the vote was not unanimous. Councillors Bernice Capjack, Dwayne Yaremkevich and Mayor Parish Tung voted in favour of accepting the regional water system business plan. Coun. Ron Fraess voted against the motion and Coun. Eugine Buck was absent.

According to Tung, the plan met the needs of securing a supply of safe, clean drinking water for the community and has the advantage of provincial funding. He said with other options, the province would only cover 70 per cent of the costs, but with this plan the province could cover 90 per cent, making this option more financially attractive.

Elk Point would pay the Town of St. Paul for the water at the same rate as St. Paul residents, said both Boisvert and Tung.

One of the proposed routes is the Iron Horse Trail.

Water for the St. Paul system is pumped from the North Saskatchewan River to Lac St. Cyr and into the St. Paul Water Treatment Plant.

The cost of construction of the 23 km water line is estimated at $7.3 million. Although there is no announcement from the province regarding the funding for this project, the respective councils hope that it too would be funded 90 per cent by the province, similarly to the northwest system, with the Town of Elk Point and the County of St. Paul picking up the balance.

One problem with the plan, according to County of St. Paul Reeve Steve Upham, is that it will be expensive for county residents to tap into the line. To connect to the pipeline between St. Paul and Elk Point, he said, a water reservoir and a pump must be built and that could cost in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, putting it out of reach for most county residents. It would be much less expensive for the rural landowner to put in a cistern and have the water trucked from St. Paul. Although the county is responsible for a part of the costs of construction of the waterline, very few county residents, if any, will be able to use the system, he said.

Twenty per cent of the capacity of the line will be secured for future growth of the county, according to data supplied by Kitz.

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