The ground has been broken on a new water reservoir in Prince Albert, a $12 million project to increase the city’s water capacity levels.
Construction on the new reservoir was announced Tuesday. A second, 15-million-litre water reservoir will be built next to the one at the city’s water treatment plant along River Street. The project will be funded under the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund using federal and provincial dollars – $6 million from the federal government and $3 million from the province.
The City of Prince Albert will cover the remaining costs.
Prince Albert Mayor Greg Dionne said the project will increase local water capacity and ensure that enough good, potable water will be on hand should problems with the water supply arise. The Husky oil spill of 2016 was an eye-opening experience for city officials and residents, he said, as supplies were limited and the city’s reserves had a capacity of just a couple days.
Dionne said the city had good discussions with the province following the oil spill to determine what was needed and how the city could access more funding.
“I give the province credit. Once the oil spill happened, they met with us and said ‘What could we do better?’ (and) one thing we realized we needed is storage facilities,” Dionne said Tuesday. “It’ll take us probably from three to four days, to seven to eight days, so it’s almost doubling our capacity and that’s a big plus for us.”
Dionne said the city borrowed money to finance its share of the cost for the water reservoir. The money will be paid back from the city’s utility fund over a 10-year period, Dionne added.
“With today’s interest rate, that was the best way to go instead of dipping into our reserves,” he said.
Saskatchewan’s Minister of Government Relations, Warren Kaeding, was also in Prince Albert for the announcement. Kaeding said the new water reservoir is good news for the city and is one of several projects the province is funding in the region.
“Water is something that is one of our necessities of life, so anytime that we can ensure quality of water, like the mayor had said, that if we can provide that for our residents, it’s certainly going to be a big benefit for everyone,” Kaeding said. “I think it’s just kind of building that building block for our communities to be able to take advantage of any opportunity that comes to them in the future.”
The city expects to make another announcement about a third water reservoir soon, Dionne said. That one will also be financed over a 10-year period, and will be built behind the South Hill Cemetery, an area that has seen a lot of growth and demand for services. Upgrades are also being done along Second Avenue West.
“When all these projects are done, we’re going to have four almost-brand-new reservoirs, so the citizens can feel comfortable that we’ve got lots of clean water in storage,” Dionne said.
On Twitter: @CharleneTebbutt
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