By Greg Price
Questions still abound between the Town of Taber and M.D. of Taber in how best to serve Johnson’s Addition.
The Town of Taber hired MPE to do a cost comparison evaluation for Johnson’s Addition, between a communal septic system and connecting to the town’s sewage system. The comparison report was completed in March, with administration staff from both municipalities to discuss with MPE the comparison report as presented.
“We had a few questions about the report which we forwarded to MPE a little bit later than we would have liked because of all the flooding we had to deal with,” said Craig Pittman, public works superintendent for the M.D. of Taber, at a joint meeting between M.D. and Town of Taber councils in late June.
Questions included such things as does each residence require a grinder pump and what are the pump costs. Also, if the individual grinder pumps have enough pressure to lift the sewage up the hill to 50th Avenue when operating into a force main. M.D. council also wanted to inquire what population the study was based on and if there was room for expansion in Johnson Addition. The M.D. also wanted assurances on no backflow back into residences, along with alignment on options being an issue.
“We haven’t got a response back yet,” said Pittman, as of June 21. “The studies began quite a few years ago in 2011/2012 I believe. We have moved forward from there and we are now looking at options.”
M.D. of Taber Deputy Reeve and chairman of the joint meeting, Merrill Harris noted the M.D. is waiting on possible funding options for any forward progress on the project, with whatever avenue it chooses.
“From what I understand, because of Johnson Addition not being a designated hamlet, it doesn’t qualify for wastewater programs in the province. We have just been waiting for some other program to come along where it might qualify, but it hasn’t at this point in time,” said Harris.
Cost estimates for a treatment unit and disposal system have been estimated at $1.2 million.
Connections to the town’s sewage system ranged from 56th Avenue ($784,000 gravity main) to 50th Avenue ($433,000 forcemain).
With the Municipal Government Act changes asking for greater collaboration between various municipalities for projects, Taber Mayor Andrew Prokop inquired if a joint letter should be made to request grant funding to offset the cost of the project.
“I think the questions that have been raised have to be answered first, because it will change the amount of a grant we need. Things like if we need a lift station as opposed to not needing one. It’s all part of the project that we need answers on,” said Harris, adding studies that have been done years apart have had a wide variance of price tags attached to them, further muddying the picture that needs more clarity.