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RVC agrees to serve as partner in regional wastewater servicing for Cochrane and Springbank

At its latest meeting of council this week, Rocky View County (RVC)decided it will continue to collaborate with regional partners in Cochrane and Calgary on wastewater servicing in the Cochrane area.

At its latest meeting of council this week, Rocky View County (RVC) decided it will continue to collaborate with regional partners in Cochrane and Calgary on wastewater servicing in the Cochrane area.

Councils were provided a report by administration officials on the ongoing collaborative work being done between the Town of Cochrane, the City of Calgary, and the Harmony Advanced Water Systems Corporation (HAWSCO), to explore opportunities to achieve sub-regional wastewater servicing efficiencies for the area west of Calgary. 

According to the council report on the issue, the catalyst for these discussions was the need for Cochrane and Rocky View County to support future growth through effective and fiscally sustainable wastewater servicing.

At the end of April, Calgary city council approved, in principle, an inter-municipal servicing concept where they would be willing to provide wastewater services in the County to the ‘Harmony Franchise Area,’ which includes Harmony, Springbank Airport and Bingham Crossing.

Throughout the collaborative process, County administration also sought consideration of an expansion of inter-municipal wastewater servicing to the Cochrane Lakes area, but the City of Calgary indicated that it was unwilling to consider that request at this time.

The current wastewater arrangement for Cochrane Lakes does discharge through Cochrane, and ultimately on to Calgary’s treatment infrastructure in any event. 

“Based on the needs of each party,” reads the council report presented on June 11. “Phased cost estimates were developed that would align with population projections that would enable future development to occur in the Town of Cochrane and Rocky View communities and business areas.”

The total capital costs to support sub-regional sanitary pipeline infrastructure on the west side of Calgary is about $200 million over the next 30 years, according to County administration.

As the primary beneficiaries of the proposed sub-regional arrangement will be the Town of Cochrane and HAWSCO, County administration, “views the future role of the County in this arrangement as that of a jurisdictional partner," whereby the County facilitates the partnership, provides necessary jurisdictional approvals, like utility routing, facilitating necessary intergovernmental agreements between benefiting parties, and supports the pursuit of provincial grants to defray costs for all parties. 

Administration stated that given that other parties own the infrastructure, it does not anticipate financial participation will be necessary in these capital investments. 

“This will utilize and expand the current wastewater infrastructure,” said Rick Deans, the County’s Utility Services strategist. 

Council seemed to take to the idea of the County acting as a facilitator between the City of Calgary and the Town of Cochrane, but some on council were concerned the collaboration could hinder RVC's own growth. 

“Is this limiting growth?” asked Division 5 Coun Greg Boehlke. 

Ben Manshanden, the County’s Intergovernmental strategist, said that growth limitation is always associated with these kinds of agreements.

“There is certainly a loss of autonomy whenever you tie into someone else's system,” said Manshanden. “We accounted for about 30 years in our feasibility study; so hopefully that's the projected growth [we see].”

Administration stated in its report to council that there are several potential benefits to continued participation in sub-regional arrangement as a jurisdictional partner, including improved regional relationships, cost efficiencies for all participating partners, and improved ecological outcomes. 

Byron Riemann, the acting Chief Administrative Officer and executive director of County Operations, argued that the continued collaboration would be a big step forward in facilitating future servicing agreements. 

“[This] is really a progressive step forward on regional collaboration of servicing,” he said. “As we continue to move forward [this agreement] is going to give us more opportunity to have these conversations.” 

Council voted unanimously to continue its collaboration with other municipalities as a jurisdictional partner to facilitate the Cochrane and Springbank Sub-regional Wastewater Servicing Concept.   






Riley Stovka

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