By Cole Parkinson
As the Hamlet of Grassy Lake continues to expand, the Municipal District of Taber is working on future accommodations.
As residential and industrial lots are almost sold out in the hamlet, the M.D. purchased around 76 acres of land directly northeast to the boundary.
The purchase of this land though has presented some challenges as an old landfill is in the vicinity.
“The new land we purchased out there has a non-operating landfill beside it and there is a process you can go through in getting a setback waiver from a non-operating landfill. Right now, the setback is 300 metres and that is for residents, food establishments, schools and hospitals, not industrial or commercial unless they are selling food there,” explained Jack Dunsmore, a contract worker for the M.D. at the council’s regular meeting on December 11.
Since 1996, the M.D. has completed three large residential sub-divisions in the hamlet which consists of 66 residential and 15 commercial type lots.
Currently, there are only eight residential lots and five commercial lots available in Grassy Lake.
In order to move forward with the development at the M.D. purchased land, phase two of an environmental assessment needs to be done.
“What we’ve done is, we have gone already and got the level one assessment done which we knew was going to tell you had to get a level two assessment done, that is just part and parcel with the process Alberta Environment has. In order for us to get a setback waiver for residential properties, we need to do a phase two risk assessment,” said Dunsmore.
The M.D. received two quotes for the assessment as both Stantec and Tetra Tech submitted costs of $47,150 plus $4,900 for initial assessment and $57,895, respectively.
While Stantec provided a lower quote, M.D. staff believed the better option moving forward would be going with Tetra Tech.
“Craig (Pittman, director of infrastructure), Brian Peers (director of municipal lands and leases) and myself went through them all. What we found is Stantec is a little bit cheaper than Tetra Tech. However, Tetra Tech is a little more involved in and has better answers for what we’re looking for,” stated Dunsmore. “All three of us believe our best bang for the buck is with Tetra Tech to get the assessment done.”
Dunsmore elaborated to council that the quote received back from Tetra Tech was more in-depth and Stantec could eventually cost more after the assessment was done.
“They (Stantec) aren’t really missing items. Their scope of work only gives you one testing whereas Tetra Tech’s has four levels of testing for gas and groundwater flows which is more in-depth. Stantec, a part of theirs is, three different places in there say ‘if we see this, then this will change, if we see that, that will change’,” he said.
Dunsmore also pointed out the staff felt Tetra Tech would get them closest to requesting the waiver.
In terms of when the landfill was last active, Dunsmore stated they believed it was closed sometime in the 1960s and he also highlighted public works had already identified the area of the landfill.
Further environmental assessment testing would then reveal exactly what was in the non-functioning landfill. Council made a motion to accept the Tetra Tech quote and was passed unanimously.