By Greg Price
The M.D. of Taber has been successful in achieving a grant they have been working on since 2012, for work addressing a stormwater drainage issue that has occurred the last few years in the southern portion of the M.D. in the Township 8 Range 16 area.
The work would be done six miles south of Taber, near Highway 513.
Engineering studies, reports and preliminary designs have been completed based on recommendations from a stakeholder committee including landowners from the area, M.D. staff, irrigation district and government which helped the grant get secured.
“One of the items that came forward in an earlier meeting at the administration level was the water conveyance agreement that the St. Mary’s River Irrigation District is requiring the M.D. to enter into. (Aug. 3), we had a meeting with the SMRID committee and County of 40 Mile and the board of the SMRID to discuss what this water conveyance agreement would look like,” said Derrick Krizsan, chief administrative officer for the M.D. of Taber. “We are reluctant to enter into the agreement because the agreement requires certain things of us that are not acceptable, which includes indemnifying the SMRID for any damages that occur to their systems as a result of an Act of God or actions of a third party that we may or may not be aware of. We think the meeting went well, I think there is a better understanding by the irrigation district of some of our concerns. We certainly hope they can reflect on that and come forward with a better agreement that makes us responsible for our negligence and not Mother Nature or some third party.”
The M.D. has set up another stakeholder meeting which will involve landowners, irrigation districts, Alberta Environment and Alberta Transportation.
“The issue is harvest. If we have an August or September meeting, we are going to have some concerns,” said Brian Brewin, reeve for the M.D. of Taber.
Moving forward, Jack Dunsmore, director of planning and infrastructure for the M.D. stress some urgency in getting all stakeholders on line, given that grant funding for the project runs out in April 2019.
“There would be quite a lot of planning needing to be done in the fall, winter, spring for 2018 to get this under summer construction,” said Dunsmore. “There is also the water conveyance agreement, Water Act approvals. They all take time. We should have this (stakeholder) meeting by mid-September at the latest.”
Krizsan highlighted the stakeholder meeting would inform people of the process.
“One key element of this is the development of the master stormwater drainage plan and Water Act approval for the entire project. It involves an extra ordinary amount of co-operation and collaboration among all the landowners and stakeholders. We need to all work together for this common solution,” said Krizsan. “I can’t imagine a reason why somebody would not want to participate in a grant project that is virtually 100 per cent funded in order to remedy a situation that has been 40 years old.”
Administration was instructed to send out an M.D. council approved request for proposal for engineering consulting services for the project which were delivered to four engineering firms. Closing date for proposals was July 25.
Council voted unanimously to award engineering consulting services to Stantec Consulting Ltd. out of Lethbridge.
“We ranked them all based on four different criteria and what we come up with was Stantec Consulting,” said Dunsmore.
Four criteria included project team experience and corporate commitment (25 points), past performance and references (25 points), project understanding, methodology, task list and deliverables (30 points), and fees (20 points).
Council also passed unanimously a Sept. 14 stakeholder meeting.