By Cole Parkinson
With winter over and spring work on the horizon, the Municipal District of Taber is readying for various projects over the next several months.
M.D. council had a chance to review and ask questions about any of the upcoming projects during their regular meeting held on March 24.
One that council was particularly interested in was the Township 8 Range 16 drainage project.
“Water Act Public Notice is complete. Required information sent to AEP (Alberta Environment and Parks). Expecting notification of decision from AEP within the next couple weeks. Working to advertise the tender immediately following notice of decision from AEP,” states administration’s report.
Council inquired around the Water Act approval and how far along that process is.
“All of the required information has been sent back to Alberta Environment and Parks. Once they receive the copies of that we will be notified of their decision. At this point, we don’t anticipate any appeals in the process. Once we get notification of the decision, we plan to put it to tender immediately,” responded Craig Pittman, director of infrastructure.
Council also questioned if the M.D. had received any opposition about the contract from residents in the area, which Pittman stated there had been none.
“I have had some correspondence with AEP. They have heard nothing at this point nor have we. We did have a few phone calls about the project and the people were happy with what was going on there. I don’t anticipate any appeals. We have submitted it digitally as well as mailed it to them which is a requirement,” he explained, also detailing if the timeframe to appeal had expired.
“Yes, it has. I believe the last piece of mail was delivered on March 6. That then queues a seven day period to appeal and that has since passed. I am unaware of any appeals that had been pushed forward to AEP.”
Another project highlighted was the Range Road 16-5 south of Township Road 13-0 Hard Surfacing which was to be publicly tendered the week of April 12 with construction to commence in summer 2020.
“That is one mile south of the paved road and in that same contract, we plan to do some single chip seal on Township Road 13-1A. We are aiming to have that advertised for public tender the week of April 12,” added Pittman.
One councillor did receive some feedback on this project.
“I had one call from a farmer who was concerned about the potential of being landlocked on road bans. I didn’t have a chance to have a look at it, do you feel it is ok with someone who has potential shipping that we will be able to get their product out?” asked Coun. Tamara Miyanaga.
Administration responded in stating they too had contact with the same landowner.
“I believe I spoke to that same landowner and ag producer in that area and the road from their many storage bins is north, which maintains gravel. These roads, the asphalt as well as the future chip seal on Road Range 16-5 will be seasonally banned. With that, we do have some exemptions and permit processes we can go through to protect our infrastructure as well as allow industry to get what they need done,” replied Pittman.
Other projects include Bridge File 84320 replacement which is located on Range Road 14-5 south of Highway 3.
“Construction is complete. Asphalt paving to commence in on or near April 15, 2020. On-time, on budget,” states administration’s report.
The Highway 36 Rest Area sees detailed design and utility relocation underway as construction is to commence this summer.
Another project, Jensen Drain (SE 15-10-15) culvert replacement, is to be completed by Taber Irrigation District this coming fall.
While all projects are slated to be started within the next few weeks, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, administration’s report also stated there is a good chance there will be some delays seen if things don’t return to normal soon.
“The infrastructure department continues to work on project preparation, administration of projects, grant funding applications. Asset Management functions are currently parked. With many projects and initiatives in motion, 2020 is scheduled to be a very productive year within the M.D. of Taber. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many external contractors and consultants are currently working from home. There is likely to be an effect on project delivery and scheduling however the extent is still unknown at this time. The Infrastructure Department is working diligently to minimize the impact of this pandemic on capital projects and will continue to report on the impacts realized.”