Aqua 7 boundary expanded to include Rocky View County
After years of being denied access, Rocky View council learned last month residents in the northeast corner of the county will be able to use Aqua 7 water.
On June 4, Drumheller Town council voted to expand the boundary of its Aqua 7 agreement with Rocky View County, allowing water to be sent into the county east of Highway 2 and north of Highway 1.
The previous agreement restricted the 2,200-cubic-metres of water allocated to the county solely to Kathyrn, and Rocky View has been working for years to amend the boundary.
Drumheller council denied a request to change the agreement in February, prompting Rocky View council to consider pulling out of the commission altogether.
“This is great news for the county,” said Rocky View Councillor Greg Boehlke, who serves on the Aqua 7 Commission, at the June 26 council meeting. “We have struggled for a long time to get this map changed and altered. We now have another viable water supply source for our residents who haven’t been able to access water. I think we should acknowledge Drumheller council for their forward thinking on this,” he said. “The efforts of the mayor and Town manager are greatly appreciated.”
“It’s been a long, drawn-out process and it’s nice to see this chapter close,” said Councillor Paul McLean, who commended Boehlke for his perseverance in expanding Aqua 7 services to residents.
In January, the Province provided Aqua 7 with $1.8 million to restructure its $14-million debt, in order to decrease the cost of water for member municipalities from $3.33 to $2.67 per cubic metre. The Commission also chose to amalgamate its two debts into one and increase the repayment schedule by 12 years to 2042.
General Manager of Infrastructure and Operations Byron Riemann said the refinancing agreement requires the County to provide confirmation of its financial commitment to repayment of the debt. Council previously tabled the matter until the service map was amended.
Under the new repayment plan, Rocky View will pay 18.76 per cent of Aqua 7’s nearly $1-million past operating debts over the next 10 years.
“I’m happy that we, as a County, can provide service to our residents, while seeing Aqua 7 through on their debt problems,” said Deputy Reeve Margaret Bahcheli.
According to Riemann, the County will contribute a total of roughly $46,500 to Aqua 7 in 2012. In 2010 and 2011, the County paid roughly $49,000 and $40,000, respectively.
“The amount the County is paying is trending downward,” said Riemann.
“That number could increase or decrease dependant on if more debt is accumulated and if the County accepts that debt as part of its repayment.”
Each of Aqua 7’s seven member municipalities – the villages of Acme, Beiseker, Carbon and Linden, the Town of Irricana, and the counties of Rocky View and Kneehill – will contribute to the repayment of the Commission’s debt, based on the amount of water they use.
Acme will pay 5.67 per cent, Beiseker and Carbon will each pay 6.82 per cent, Linden will pay 8.55 per cent, Irricana will pay 17.1 per cent, and Kneehill County will pay 36.23 per cent.