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Thursday, November 16, 2017

MD council updated on Beaver Mines Water and Wastewater project


Chris Davis - At their November 7 regular meeting council for the MD of Pincher Creek discussed a briefing by Director of Operations Leo Reedyk about the current status of the Beaver Mines Water and Wastewater project.  Councillor Rick Lemire recused himself from the discussion, citing his employment with Alberta Transportation as a potential conflict of interest, because the project is receiving significant funding from Alberta Transportation.


Reedyk's report was an update of previous reports, and afforded new councillor Bev Everts a chance to get up to speed on the project.  Everts asked what other studies might be involved, and Reedyk replied there would have to be ground studies, water act approvals, licences, environmental assessments, and a number of other items.  Everts asked if MPE Engineering Ltd. (the contractor) would provide a spreadsheet of all the required approvals.  Reedyk indicated that could be arranged for the November 28 meeting of council.  Councillor Terry Yagos said he was hearing some contradictory information, and would like to hear from engineers and other sources at council. Everts said a dialogue was necessary due to concerns expressed to her by some constituents.  She made a motion to hold a special meeting of council on the subject.  Councillor Brian Hammond said he thought that would be premature at this stage of the process.  Councillor Everts responded that there was the potential for legal repercussions, that there were serious environmental concerns about the potential site of the wastewater lagoon and the lagoon site might not be approved, and that every day dollars were being spent on the preliminary aspects of the project.  "We're not listening," she said.  She was asked what timeline she wanted to attach to her motion for a special meeting, and said "two weeks", which other members of council indicated they thought was too tight to accommodate.  When it came to a vote, Reeve Quentin Stevick and councillor Everts voted in favour of Everts motion to have a special meeting and councillors Yagos and Hammond voted against it.  That tie vote defeated the motion.

Later during the same meeting council discussed proposed road closure bylaw 1282-17, According to Director of Development and Community Services Roland Milligan's report to council on the matter,  "The proposed Cowley to Beaver Mines water line requires a booster station approximately halfway along the proposed route.  A location on private land, within proximity to the required location, was not attainable.  Locating the booster site within a road is the best option left available."  A 1Om x 15m portion of road would be closed to allow for the placement of the building required to house the required pump and infrastructure.  Council unanimously agreed to hold a public hearing on the matter prior to their next regular meeting on November 28. 

Council also received an October 3, 2017 statement from Cornell Van Ryk, a resident who has frequently brought his concerns about the Beaver Mines Water and Wastewater project to council, and in letters to this publication.  The statement was presented to council by Van Ryk on October 10 when he appeared as a delegation. It is published entire below after Reedyk's updated briefing.

Director of Operations Leo Reedyk's updated November 7 report in full:

Beaver Mines Water and Wastewater Proiect Briefing

The Beaver Mines Water and Wastewater project is broken into three components for tracking and discussion purposes, water supply, water distribution and wastewater collection, and wastewater treatment.

Further capacity study was required following the Provincial Governments announcement of
supplying water for Castle Parks and Castle Mountain Resort through the Regional Water
System. A meeting was held with Alberta Environment and Parks, Alberta Tourism, Alberta
Transportation, MPE Engineering and the MD to discuss some of the technical issues associated
with supplying water to Castle Parks and Castle Mountain Resort. A meeting with Castle
Mountain Resort staff identified historical use and provided insight into the long term
development requirements for water, excluding water for making snow. Note: The water line to
the Castle Mountain Resort is not intended to supply water for snow making. The final report of
the Castle Area Servicing Study was provided on August 4, 2017.

A project information meeting was held September 27, 2017 in the Coalfields Hall from 4:00 to
7:00 pm.

1) The water supply project includes water treatment plant upgrades, piping to the Hamlet
      including a booster pump station along the route, and a reservoir and re-chlorination unit.
          a. Council has commissioned MPE Engineering to do the detailed design and tender
             of this project.
          b. The project is in the detailed design phase in order to prepare a tender to go out in
             the spring of 2017. A prequalification tender for contractors has been initiated,
             and will close on June 26, 2017, to be followed by a tender for the pipeline and
             mechanical components. 15 pipeline contractors and 7 mechanical contractors
             responded to the prequalification processes.
          c. MPE Engineering is doing a detailed survey of the Hamlet to confirm elevations
             of homes. A letter of introduction from the MD is being supplied to residents
             requesting the surveyors be allowed onto private property. Ongoing.
          d. Negotiations with landowners is continuing and we will know in June the pipeline
             route. Legal documents are being prepared for signatures. Completed.
          e. Confirmation of the reservoir site layout has been finalized .
          f. Construction for this component of the project is tentatively scheduled for
             completion in the spring of 2018.
          g. Location of Booster Pump Station is finalized.
          h. Capacity issues with the Regional Water System infrastructure from the Oldman
             dam reservoir to Beaver Mines resulting from the Castle Area Servicing were
             identified and have now been incorporated into the systems design.
         1.  Prequalification of Pipeline and Mechanical contractors is complete. The pipeline
             contract tender documents have been distributed to pipeline contractors. The
             mechanical tender documents will be distributed in September/October.
         J. The Pipeline Tender closed on August 30, 2017with 6 tenders being submitted.
             The low tender was L.W. Dennis Contracting Ltd with a tender of $2,384,110.58.
         k. A pre-construction meeting was held with L W Dennis Contracting Ltd to go
             over project issues that had been identified. They will be mobilizing on October 30 th ,                         starting to fuse pipe on October 31, and starting pipeline boring soon after that.
         I.   Prequalified Mechanical Contractors received copies of the Mechanical
              Tender for review. A pre-tender site meeting was held on November 1, 2017
               to give contractors an opportunity to see the site conditions for the
               mechanical portion of the contract. The tender close date for the Mechanical
               contract is November 21, 2017.

  2) The water distribution and wastewater collection component of the project includes the
     installation of pipes in the Hamlet to connect residents to the water reservoir and to
     connect to the wastewater treatment force main.
         a. Council has commissioned MPE Engineering to do the detailed design and tender
             of this project.
         b. At project start up meeting with MPE Engineering, options that provided fire flow
             water capacity and gravity waste water collection for all sites were chosen. These
             options were also noted as preferred at meetings held with local residents.
         c. The detailed design phase of the project is expected to take most of 2017 with the
             tender happening sometime in the winter of 2017/2018.
         d. It is not expected to be constructed until 2018 or later, as in addition to being able
             to tie into the reservoir, connection to a wastewater system for residents requires,
             that a wastewater treatr,nent system is operational as well.
         e. Where required, easements for utility crossings on private land are being
             identified. Consultation with land owners has been initiated.

  3) The wastewater treatment system component of the project includes a force main to the
     wastewater treatment lagoon system from the Hamlet.
        a. The Municipal District is awaiting word in the spring of 2017 on a grant
           application for this component of the project. On May 29, 2017 the Province
           announced the AMWWP grant funded projects, no grant was received for this
           project in 2017.
        b. Land negotiations for an easement for a wastewater force main are ongoing.
        c. Council has commissioned MPE Engineering to do a detailed design of this
           component of the project.
        d. Council has requested additional information on the Mill Creek site access.
        e. Meetings with area residents were held to discuss preliminary details of the
           project and to listen to their concerns.
        f. A meeting to discuss access to the Mill Creek site was held with the local
           landowner and MPE engineering. Options on access have been developed and are
           awaiting review and comment.
        g. A Historical Resources Assessment of the site will be initiated in October 201 7.
           An informal walkabout with local landowners and Arrow Archaeology Ltd.
           occurred on the proposed site on Saturday October 21, 2107.

October 3 statement to council from Cornell Van Ryk

I've attended most Council meetings where the BM project was on the agenda (you people are probably as tired of seeing me here as I am of having to show up). From what I gathered at the meetings, cost continues to be Council's only criteria. There has been LITTLE discussion regarding the impact on residents or water quality.

The little bit of discussion that has occurred, has revealed a significant lack of information. After asking for an odor study last Feb. to try to get some FACTS on table, you cannot understand how disappointed we are to hear comments from Council like "the Pass lagoons don't have an odor problem". Well the FACT of the matter is that the Pass has a mechanical wastewater treatment plant and the aerated lagoons next to the hiway just further treat the water prior to release. This is pretty much the same system that was identified as an option in our 2014 Study, which Council decided to have evaluated in the 2016 feasibility study, but the ENGINEERS DECIDED TO REMOVE IT FROM THE STUDY BECAUSE IT JUST MIGHT BE TOO EXPENSIVE FOR US.

We've also heard flip flops where our Councillor. On one day he has the opinion that lagoons stink and on other occasions that they do not, and now, the latest gem, that we will have a better idea after we spend $390k engineering and designing the lagoon. The physical location of a water stand-pipe and the fire-hall, the BM tennis court surface, are more important than worrying about a few residents impacted by a wastewater lagoon or the quality of the water in a river.

And then the cherry on top ... Let's not call it the Mill Creek Project, it has nothing to do with Mill Creek other than the fact that the latest published information has the lagoon effluent water being discharged into Mill Creek.

EVEN IF ONE IS ONLY FOCUSED ON COST, THIS DECISION MAY BE THE WRONG ONE.

We simply don't know. We've now been told $200k is the delta (no supporting documentation, just a verbal $200k).

Let's look at that number for a second. $200k is 4.4% ofthe cost of the project. This is well within the margin of error of the project estimates. Your engineers had a high cost estimate for the water pipeline, why would the wastewater pipeline be any different? Were the poopline cost estimates updated once they got firm pricing on the water pipeline? The Lagoons could EASILY end up costing more than the pipeline.

Once again, just like in November of 2016, Council has made a hasty decision based on VERY poor information. They asked for a Study and got something else, they asked for a cost update and didn't get it, but pressed on regardless. Even if resident concerns and water quality impact isn't on Council's radar, they might be concerned about project schedule. The lagoon project is already delayed by a Historic Resource Impact Assessment (which was not anticipated) and is likely to be further delayed by other studies, protests and possibly even legal action.

Finally, after another long rant, all I'm asking for today is the cost comparison update we were promised. Council may take this decision lightly, but I assure you, the people that live in close proximity to the proposed Mill Creek lagoon site and those concerned about the water quality in their river, do not.

What I would do now:
  • Complete the HRIA (need this info anyway if you end up looking for gravel)
  • Stop spending money on an option that should never have seen the light of day.
  • Get a proper feasibility study in front of you before you spend further engineering $.

But I know more about this project, my answer may not be fair, if I was you:
  • Complete HRIA
  • Update cost numbers (want them in 2 weeks, including review of pipeline estimate).
  • Either stop spending money on engineering (the cost numbers are likely to kill this option) and/or if you honestly don't have a good feel for the negative impacts of this project focus the engineers only on odor study and the risk of seepage and loss of containment so you can understand these issues before you authorize any more spending on the Mill Creek option.

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