Approval for a plan to improve stormwater drainage near Lacombe Lake and help facilitate development north of Blackfalds remains in the hands of Alberta Environment.
That according to Blackfalds Mayor Richard Poole who says it’s unclear at this point how long they will have to wait for the province to approve the proposed North West Stormwater Management Plan.
In addition, he says Lacombe County council has yet to debate the proposed project.
“They’ve looked at it, they’ve been an active partner in it, they’ve been hearing everything that is being said but they haven’t actually debated the point until after Alberta Environment approvals come back,” he explains. “Knowing Alberta Environment, it could be three months, it could be five.”
Poole says the Town feels this project is one of the most advanced stormwater – drainage systems that have been developed throughout central Alberta for quite some time and will far exceed Alberta Environment’s standards.
“We have a design that’s been presented to the public and Lacombe County several times and it’s a very robust design that plans to provide filtration for our water through a number of natural water courses,” he explains. “The first stage will be the water traps that are in our existing stormwater and they will actually bring the quality of the water up to meet the designs that are required by Alberta Environment, which is 85 per cent removal of solids. From there it will go through a series of stormwater ponds that will increase the filtration to 99 per cent of sediments removed.”
He adds that the North West Stormwater Management Plan’s current design also includes opportunities for the water to be tested as it moves through the system and before it enters into Lacombe Lake, meaning some new infrastructure will be needed.
“The place where The County becomes involved in is that we are looking at crossing 40-0, going underneath it and that will be a new structure that will take it across onto the Lacombe County properties,” he explains.
Prepared by Red Deer based Stantec Consulting, the project is said to provide a conceptual design for the overall Northwest Area storm drainage system which ensures that future development within Northwest Blackfalds will have an adequate outlet, and also forms part of the Water Act Application 001-00387959.
Town of Blackfalds officials say the Northwest Area Master Stormwater Management Plan aligns with the Wolf Creek and Whelp Brook Watershed Master Drainage Plan, developed to protect this area’s watershed, which was adopted regionally in 2014 through a partnership between the County of Lacombe, the Town of Blackfalds, the City of Lacombe and Ponoka County.
Opponents of the plan have expressed concerns over “blasting” stormwater into Lacombe Lake, saying it would raise water levels by 35 per cent, increase temperatures in the water and ultimately irreparably damage the lake, which is situated about eight kilometres north of Blackfalds but south of Lacombe.
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