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SEAWA undertaking Water Area Characterization Project

Posted on October 12, 2022 by Ryan Dahlman

By Samantha Johnson

At the regularly scheduled council meeting on Sept. 26 a delegation from SEAWA gave a presentation. 

Council had a two-person delegation from SEAWA who gave a brief presentation, staring out with their goal and vision. They also wanted to discuss the Source Water Area Characterization Project they are completing for the City of Medicine Hat and Town of Redcliff as both share the South Saskatchewan River as a drinking water source. As we use the water it is in our best interests to be invested in protecting it. 

SEAWA wants input at the provincial level on how to allocate water, which will likely happen through Alberta Environment. SEAWA obtained $25K in funding from the Alberta Real Estate Foundation to create a source water protection plan (SWPP). Aquality Environmental Consulting was hired to compete the first steps of the SWPP, such as what are the physical features, land uses, potential contaminants, and other risks to drinking water supply, historic flows, industrial developments, wastewater pipelines and the report should be ready in February 2023. The study will create some maps and discuss risks. 

SWPP is an overarching plan that sits on top of the drinking water plan, the two are to be integrated together. It will look at the quantity and quality of the water. In spring the source water increases, which may impact our drinking water. There are major oil lines crossing the South Saskatchewan River above our water influx, one is a two-inch line that is 30 years old and is a potential hazard. 78% of the irrigated land in Alberta is in the Old Man basin and the Bow basin. 

SEAWA is looking for a Council representative to be on their board along with participation and support of the SWPP. There is a municipal seat currently open on the SEAWA board. 

Councillor Allen commented about how low the river level was at the start of summer and asked if the outcome of the project would protect the river in this area. Minimum flow set by Alberta Environment is 1200 cubic feet per second. The main draws are the Eastern Irrigation District and the Old Man Dam. As the country was settled from east to west, we are higher on the priority list and can influence and have some input into the final outcome. 

Council will have an organizational meeting is in October and try to get someone on the SEAWA board. 

On August 15, 2022, Council gave first reading to Bylaw 1944/2022, which will amend the Land Use Bylaw. An application was made in June to rezone 910 and 912 Highway Ave NE so an eating establishment can be built there. The bylaw was advertised along with the public hearing and no comments were received by Administration. A public hearing was held during the council meeting to which no written or verbal submissions were received. There were no questions from Councillors, which closed the public hearing soon after it started. The bylaw was put on the table for second and third readings and was carried. 

Council budget review is set to be held during two special meetings of Council that are open to the public. The special meetings are arranged so that the Capital Budget deliberations take place first, followed by the Operating Budget deliberations on a separate date. Capital Budget Review and Discussion will take place on November 15-16 from 5:30pm to 10:00pm. Operating Budget Review and Discussion on November 19 from 8:30am to 5:00pm. If required, the meeting will be extended to the evening of November 21. The motion was carried and the sessions will be advertised. 

Information has been received about a new one time $30K grant available to develop a business case for a self-administered police service or regional equivalent. Carried to apply for the grant, Councillor Crozier suggested taking this one step at a time and then go from there. 

During the wind event on July 18, 2022, a tree in the yard of 619 Main Street S fell and damaged a service mast in the yard. The property owners got the mast repaired and an inspection completed within a day. The owners were charged $374.50 for the permit, included $260 in expedited fees and applied for a full waiver. Motion was made for a full waiver and was defeated by Council. 

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