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Beiseker lagoon remediation costs Village $208,000

At the Feb. 28 meeting, Beiseker Village council approved spending $208,000 to repair the east wall of the village's sewage lagoon.
Village of Beiseker council approved a $208,000 expense to repair their sewage lagoon at their Feb. 28 meeting.

An eroded lagoon wall resulted in an unexpected expense for the Village of Beiseker totalling more than $200,000.

At the Feb. 28 meeting, Beiseker Village council approved spending $208,000 to repair the east wall of the village's sewage lagoon. According to Mayor Warren Wise, the expense was necessary as the lagoon wall had eroded, and council members voted unanimously in favour of the remediation measures.

“We had some people out to check out the sewage lagoons and it was found the east wall of the existing lagoon required some remediation in order for it to not overflow in the future,” he said after the meeting. “We…decided to go ahead and have that work done, primarily because if the lagoons were to overflow, we’d potentially be subject to some very high costs from an environmental standpoint.”

Beiseker’s lagoon, used to hold the Village’s wastewater services, is located east of Highway 9 and south of Highway 72.

Wise added the remediation should be a quick project – scheduled to wrap up by the end of March – and that the Village would pay for it through a combination of Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) funding from the Alberta government and the municipality's Canadian Community Building Fund allocations for 2022.

While the expense won’t impact the Village’s operating budget this year, Wise did say it will impact the municipality’s capital budget. He added the original intent was to use some of Beiseker’s MSI funds to pay back the loan the Village took out to fund necessary road work in the village.

He added the gradual diminishing of MSI funding and other provincial grants are a continued topic of concern for small municipalities like Beiseker.

“It does create issues for small centres and municipalities to try and keep infrastructure up as best as they can without going to extraordinary tax increases,” he said.

According to Wise, the Village has a long-term budget based on what it expects provincial funding to amount to for the next five years, but he added that amount is “subject to the whims” of higher levels of government.

“That’s about all we can do – a municipality of our size trying to maintain infrastructure on property taxes alone becomes, in my opinion, an unwieldy thing to do,” he said.

The Village of Beiseker’s Chief Administrative Officer Heather Leslie echoed the mayor’s comments about MSI funding. As for the lagoon issue, she added one small blessing was the fortunate timing of the repairs.

“We actually got it done at a really good time of the year,” she said. “The ground is still frozen, so it’s much easier to do it now than it would be to do it in the summer or spring, when everything is really wet.”

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