Tuesday, January 19, 2010  
   Volume 80 - Issue 3 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“Traditionally, Rescue has always been working in conjuction with the ambulance. We’re all in favour of helping out whenever we can.”
- Rescue Chief  
Michael Taje  
- on formalizing medical   
co-response   

 

Other options still open for getting water to the west
 
The Alberta Environment Appeals Board has ruled against the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass and has upheld an original decision to deny the municipality a water licence for developing wells in Sentinel. This is yet another setback in the municipality’s plans to bring water to the large area west of Coleman, laying the groundwork for future expansion and development.
The municipality originally applied for the licence under the premise that the well or wells would access underground sources of water. Alberta Environment ruled that the water beneath Sentinel was connected to surface water sources, and denied the application because of the moratorium on new surface water licences in Alberta.
The municipality appealed the decision, and a hearing was held in Lethbridge in late November.
Chief Administrative Officer Gordon Lundy told council on Tuesday, January 12, that the appeal board had ruled against the municipality as well. He said that there is no additional provincial avenue of appeal available.
However, said Lundy, there are still options for moving forward, which council will have to examine. One possible option, he said, would be to transfer existing municipal surface water rights to Sentinel.
Lundy told council that the appeals board wrote a 41-page decision, which he would provide for council to review.
 
Councillor Gary Taje suggested that the municipality should see how many people its currently existing water licences can provide for.
Lundy said that if the water in the wells is not the same quality as in the municipality’s other wells, a surface treatment plant would have to be built. If the water did meet those quality standards, however, then it’s in the hands of Alberta Environment.
Mayor John Irwin says that he cannot understand Alberta Environment’s decision. “They’re saying the well is surface water, not groundwater,” he says. “I don’t understand it.”
Mayor Irwin says that he believes the wells are very important to the community’s future. “I think it’s vital. It’s the only way we can develop things to the west. It makes no sense to treat water in Coleman and pump it to the lakes.”
There have been three potential well sites identified in Sentinel by Stantec. Mayor Irwin says that one of them is particularly good, and could potentially supply all of the water needed for future expansion in that area. A second well site could back up the first one, he said, if the first one does not regenerate fast enough to keep up with future water demand.
He adds that it is possible to transfer existing water rights to Sentinel, as the municipality has a few surface rights that it is not using. For example, he says, the municipality owns rights for York Creek, but he says that he believes that water will be better used as an untreated “green water” source for the community.
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