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Beaver Mines, Alta. still waiting on water supply as Castle area celebrates new infrastructure

Click to play video: 'Beaver Mines still waiting on potable water supply as Castle area celebrates new infrastructure' Beaver Mines still waiting on potable water supply as Castle area celebrates new infrastructure
In May 2019, construction began on an $11.3-million project to bring potable drinking water to the Castle area in southwestern Alberta. Eloise Therien has more on this project, and what’s next for a neighbouring community in need. – Feb 11, 2021

A project to bring potable water to the Castle, Alta. area has been completed after nearly two years’ worth of work.

The Castle Area Regional Water Supply project was initiated by the Municipal District of Pincher Creek in 2018, following a servicing study that examined the demand of potable water in the area the year prior.

In May 2019, construction began and was scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

However, delays meant it wasn’t done until late 2020 and an official ribbon-cutting event was held Thursday.

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Jody Petrone, infrastructure manager with MPE Engineering, says approximately 28 kilometres of pipeline were built to carry the water into the area.

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“The project started with a upgrade to a water plant just outside Cowley,” she explained.

“So we built a raw water line from the Oldman reservoir, that then feeds the water plants, which then treats the water, and then we put it in a pipeline and send it all the way up here.”

Construction for the Castle Area Regional Water Supply project took from May 2019 until the end of 2020. Courtesy: Municipal District of Pincher Creek No. 9

The $11.3-million project was provided through a grant from the government of Alberta.

The new infrastructure means Castle Mountain Resort doesn’t have to worry about its water supply, with a reliable source right in its backyard. The water will not be used for snow-making purposes.

“This is going to be a great water system because it gives us security that we can have enough water for our guests so we can operate our business, as well as for all the homeowners and the community here to get clean drinking water,” said Castle’s director of operations Jason Crawford.

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However, the nearby Hamlet of Beaver Mines is still awaiting help for its water supply, with no current access to municipal water or wastewater services.

M.D. of Pincher Creek Reeve Brian Hammond says getting the community a safe, convenient water supply has been a lengthy effort.

“Lots of folks are still having to go to Pincher Creek for a source of water,” he said. “The wheels of government have turned very slowly over time.”

He says the area is waiting on certain approvals from the government before more work can be done.

“The waste water portion of the project is still a work in progress. We’re waiting for approvals and very much looking forward to having a conclusion.”

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In a statement to Global News on February 23, Alberta Environment and Parks says it understands the importance of having a reliable water source in the hamlet.

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“This community will be connected to potable water via the regional pipeline when the hamlet’s new wastewater treatment plant is constructed. Currently, residents of Beaver Mines are using private septic systems on their properties,” the email reads.

“Environment and Parks is currently working with the Municipal District of Pincher Creek to address statements of concern related to their wastewater treatment system application.

“We expect those concerns will addressed in the coming weeks. Once the concerns are addressed, related licences and registrations will be quickly processed so construction can begin.”

From a construction standpoint, Petrone says it’s likely the Beaver Mine’s portion will be completed sometime in 2022, depending on the speed of the approval process.

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