By J.W. Schnarr
The Municipal District of Taber announced the purchase of a $5.6 million gravel pit in the northwest quadrant of the district on Monday afternoon. The purchase is to be split with Vulcan County and is expected to provide the M.D. with an estimated 75 years of gravel for northwest sector.
Reeve Brian Brewin said the partnership between the M.D. and Vulcan County was important in securing the deal, and said the deal was reached without issue.
“It was a couple meetings, and they are in the same boat as we are,” he said. “They saw it as a good opportunity to secure some gravel in a corner of their municipality. Gravel is a commodity that all rural municipalities realize the importance of.”
The $5.6 million dollar purchase will divide a quarter section of land in half and will provide 2.4 million cubic yards of gravel to the M.D. and 2.0 million cubic yards of gravel to the County. The purchase price was split based upon the volume of gravel in each 80 acre parcel at a rate of 44.81 per cent (County) and 55.19 per cent (M.D.). The municipalities undertook an extensive engineering evaluation of the property prior to purchase.
The M.D. will finance $3.09 million from municipal reserves. Vulcan County will initially finance their portion, $2.51 million, with municipal reserves, and is reviewing other potential options for long-term financing.
The gravel pit, which is located in the southeast corner of Vulcan County near the northwest boundary of the M.D. of Taber, will serve as the primary source of aggregate for road maintenance for the northwest portion of the M.D. of Taber and for the southeast portion of Vulcan County.
The location of the gravel pit will enable the efficient and timely application of road aggregate in order to maintain the roads to the highest standard possible.
It is expected that this gravel pit will provide enough aggregate for the northwest portion of the M.D. for the next 75 years and for the southeast portion of the County for 50-plus years based upon the current usage. Brewin said the purchase represents a level of security for road crews and construction projects in the Enchant area.
“The importance is security, going into the future,” he said. “We’re seeing a steady rise in (the cost) of gravel. This gives us a secure amount for what we know will be the cost of gravel going into the future. It’s something that is a heck of a lot easier to budget for, just knowing that we have it.”
The Municipal District of Taber operates and maintains approximately 2,400 kilometres of gravel roads and 250 kilometres of paved roads. Vulcan County maintains approximately 2,800 kilometres of gravel roads and 50 kilometres of paved/cold mix surface roads.
Brewin said he and council are pleased with the outcome.
“This was an opportunity for us to fill in a void that we’d had in the corner of the municipality, up in the Enchant area. It’s a significant gravel (source) well into the future for the municipality. Gravel is something they’re not producing anymore.”