Lacombe Lake residents not sold on Town of Blackfalds stormwater plan

By Josh Hall (Twitter: @Vancan19)
June 29, 2018 - 4:40pm

A meeting this week hosted by The Town of Blackfalds did nothing to address the concerns area residents have about the future of Lacombe Lake.

According to Anita Alexander, a member of the Lacombe Lake Watershed Stewardship Society, The Town has heard their concerns but have yet to do anything about them.

The Town wants to purchase nine acres of land from Lacombe County, south of Lacombe Lake so that they may build a pipe to convey local stormwater into it. This option will cost The Town around $2 million, compared to a roughly $12 million pricetag to pump the water into the Blindman River.

Alexander, and many of the other close to 100 people who came out to Wednesday’s meeting, say the plan will irreparably damage the lake by pumping in contaminants and raising lake levels and temperatures, all while harming local wildlife habitats in the process.

“We think it’s utterly reckless to take a chance with contaminating a beautiful lake and I just wish The Town of Blackfalds would appreciate that they have this stunning lake on their doorstep for their citizens to evermore use,” she says. “What a pipe dream to think you can bring all this stormwater to a lake and not have ill effects. How is that possible?”

Meanwhile, The Town of Blackfalds maintains that it has heard and addressed water quality concerns throughout the process, adding that the project will be handled responsibly moving forward should it receive approval from Alberta Environment.

“This project is important to the growth of our town and our region, so it is great to see so many people out this evening,” offered Mayor Richard Poole. “We wanted to make sure that everyone has a chance to see the improvement to this project while addressing the concerns brought forward.”

The Town says their proposal is designed to meet or exceed all Alberta Environment and Parks standards for stormwater management design.

However, Alexander believes there’s a “very good chance” the project gets denied.

“In June 2017, Lacombe County held a meeting to let the public know about these proposed plans. It was very, very well-attended,” she says. “County council chamber was absolutely packed to the point that people were standing in the back. I didn’t hear one person in that room say they wanted it.”

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