Councillor Blog January 2024
Welcome back fellow residents of White City (and those reading from the surrounding area) for the January 2024 edition of the White City Councillor Blog. This month’s blog will focus on a Wastewater Infrastructure Fee being introduced in 2024.
Effective January 1, 2024, a monthly Wastewater Infrastructure Fee of $33.58 will be added to utility notices. This temporary fee is associated with the cost of wastewater infrastructure required for the community.
Wastewater services are managed by the WCRM158 Wastewater Management Authority (WMA), a joint public utility serving the RM of Edenwold No. 158 and the Town of White City. This utility is a 50/50 partnership comprised of a board with three council members from each municipality. Each municipality equally contributes funding to the utility and receives an equal share of the wastewater capacity. The WMA has been working diligently on the Wastewater Expansion Project to address critical challenges in our wastewater treatment infrastructure.
In 2017, the construction of a Wastewater Treatment Plant commenced, aiming to provide sufficient capacity for a population of up to 15,000 in White City and the surrounding RM areas. Unfortunately, setbacks were encountered including maintaining sufficient lagoon capacity for the currently developed areas. Subsequently, the newly constructed Wastewater Treatment Plant faced challenges in meeting provincial standards, creating a capacity deficit that impacted the entire catchment area, including Town Centre Developments, Picasso Pathways, and Royal Park.
To rectify these issues, the Wastewater Expansion Project was reviewed and redeveloped into three phases:
Phase 1a - COMPLETE:
- Estimated Cost: $211.0K. ($105.5K White City)
- Project Plan: Temporarily convert one storage cell into primary treatment.
Phase 1b - COMPLETE:
- Estimated Cost: $6.3M. ($3.15M White City)
- Project Plan: Enhance primary treatment cell, install aeration systems, and additional irrigation pivots.
Phase 2 – IN PROGRESS:
- Estimated Cost: $11.7M. ($5.85M White City)
- Project Plan: Construct additional storage cell, install SAGR System, and upgrade the Treatment Plant.
The Town is pleased to report that Phase 1b has been completed, providing the necessary capacity for a population of 8,000 in the catchment area – meaning in White City and areas of the RM of Edenwold. With this milestone, development has been able to proceed, including the approval of Royal Park in 2022. Additionally, engineering for Phase 2 has begun with anticipated tendering of the project in January 2024.
To provide the required funding for Phase 1b and Phase 2, the Town had to secure long-term borrowing to cover its 50% share of the project costs. Due to the challenges faced by this project, as of 2024 the Town will hold $16.2 million in debt for funding required by the WMA. This totals 73% of the Town’s total debt and has had a significant impact on other infrastructure projects in the Town such as the development of Betteridge Road and recreation amenities.
Consequently, a $33.58 monthly Wastewater Infrastructure Fee, starting in 2024, is crucial for covering a portion of the associated costs of this borrowing. The remaining portion will be covered through development levies and connection fees. The Wastewater Infrastructure Fee directly relates to the cost of long-term borrowing and it is anticipated that as more development levies are received and as more households connect to the Town’s sewer system the Town will have the ability to review lowering the fee per household. Council did not take this decision lightly, and has committed to reviewing the fee on an annual basis to ensure that only what is needed will be collected.
We appreciate your understanding and support as we work together to secure the wastewater infrastructure necessary for the well-being and sustainable development of our community.
If you have any questions, have a comment, want more information, or want to suggest a topic for a future blog please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 306-781-2355 – we look forward to hearing from you!
-Mayor Brian Fergusson