By Trevor Busch
Municipalities east of Lethbridge along the Highway 3 agri-food processing corridor in southern Alberta will be studying future water and wastewater needs as processors eye the region for development on the heels of an irrigation expansion announcement for Chin Reservoir.
Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter says Coaldale has applied to quarterback a regional potable water study.
“Coaldale was willing to apply for an ACP grant (Alberta Community Partnership). And it’s up to $200,000, to get to study the water needs of this area. So I appreciate them doing that. You can only apply once per year. And so they were willing to give up their slot to be able to get that done.”
The application has received a letter of support from Premier Danielle Smith, that was signed by four other MLAs, including Hunter, Lethbridge-East MLA Nathan Neudorf, Cardston-Siksika MLA Joseph Schow and Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Justin Wright. No matching contributions are required.
Just a little further east down the highway, the Town of Taber is taking the helm for the regional wastewater study and has applied for their own ACP grant.
“Taber is going to be studying the wastewater for this corridor,” said Hunter. “So again, I appreciate them stepping up and giving up their slot for that as well. What it will provide for us is some really good info down in terms of what we’re going to need along that corridor. As those companies come in, obviously they’re going to need water and wastewater. They’re very water and wastewater intensive operations, food processing is very intensive. So this provides us with good intel, as we move forward in terms of building out infrastructure to make this thing happen.”
The projects arise from the provincial Highway 3 Potable Water/Wastewater Technical Working Group, which had the mandate of overseeing a high-level servicing analysis of potable water and wastewater infrastructure along the Highway 3 corridor running between Lethbridge and Medicine Hat.
The province wants to develop this area into a global hub for agri-food processing facilities, and Hunter has been tasked by the premier to work on this.
“I want to also say that I’m really pleased with what we’re seeing, we’ve got many communities along that corridor, and challenges, and municipalities have been able to come forward with some really collaborative approaches, which the government loves to see. We love to see that collaborative approach. And so this is going to go a long ways in terms of us being able to know what these communities have. And also we had to stand out in support of this as well from all of the MLAs along that corridor as well, which was very good.”