Clarification on stormwater project support issues by Blackfalds, Lacombe County

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A bit of miscommunication regarding municipal support for the Northwest Area Master Stormwater Management Plan is now being clarified by the Town of Blackfalds.

During the recent open house regarding the proposed project on Wednesday, June 27, Preston Weran, director of infrastructure and property services for the town made a statement regarding Lacombe County’s support in addressing some flooding issues on the north bank of Lacombe Lake. The statement was interpreted by some in attendance as word Lacombe County was in support of the project as a whole.

According to a release issued by the town on Friday, that wasn’t the intent. Rather, it was meant to convey county’s support of the concept of developing a Lacombe Lake Management Plan with lake stakeholders.

“Over the past year, the town has worked with its partners and stakeholders to address concerns and issues brought forth from the June 2017 Open House,” said Blackfalds Mayor Richard Poole. “Town and county councils will continue dialogue on this important project.”

Lacombe County Reeve Paula Law reaffirmed the county has not given support either way on the project.

“While the administrations of Lacombe County and the Town of Blackfalds have discussed the concept of a Blackfalds Northwest Area Stormwater Management project or plan, Lacombe County Council has not discussed or endorsed it in any capacity,” she said.

“Relationships between municipalities play a crucial role in future plans and projects, and we appreciate the Town of Blackfalds helping to publicly clear up any misconceptions that stemmed from the public meeting.”

The Northwest Area Stormwater Management Plan is devised to provide a stormwater outlet for developments in the northwestern part of Blackfalds. In place of a built stormwater pond that would take up developable land, the plan would see stormwater filtered through several existing and constructed wetlands, then through a pipeline into the nearby Lacombe Lake.

The plan has been met with much opposition from lake residents, concerned with contamination of the lake, flooding of their properties and other effects on the lake’s ecosystem. The town, however, says the project meets or exceeds Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) standards for stormwater management design, and also aligns with the Wolf Creek and Whelp Brook Watershed Master Drainage Plan which was adopted regionally in 2014.

Blackfalds and Stantec, the company behind the plans and possible future implementation, have already made a series of updates to the original plan, however, as requested by AEP.