Infrastructure analysis to prepare city for expansion

Tyler Clarke
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Unanimously approving what past city councils have been putting off for decades, the city’s elected officials OK’d an about $375,000 expense on Monday.


City Hall

The money will go toward a citywide hydraulic system analysis, which will show city crews what infrastructure capacities are throughout Prince Albert.

“What this will do is largely bring us current,” public works director Colin Innes said, noting that the last such analysis is about 40 years old.

“I would hope that on an ongoing basis it would not be quite as much of a gap between this study and when it would be updated again in the future.”

“We’re promoting infill lots,” Mayor Greg Dionne said after the meeting, adding that it would be a shame to approve a major project only to find that underground infrastructure is insufficient to service the land.

“It’s a proactive thing,” he said. “We’re also looking at expanding into new subdivisions, and we want to make sure we have the capacity to do water and sewer.”

History serves up a lesson learned for city council, Dionne said, noting that the expansion in the west hill area meant an over-capacity system that resulted in flooding to the area.

With a hydraulic system analysis, such miss-steps shouldn’t take place, he said.

Reflecting on the decades in which past city councils voted against a hydraulic system analysis, Coun. Rick Orr expressed support of council’s new forward-thinking mentality.

“Once again, it seems to me that if we don’t do anything here we’ll stall development,” Orr said. “Here’s an example, again, where maybe past councils haven’t been as willing to lay a little money out to plan for the future.

Once again, it seems to me that if we don’t do anything here we’ll stall development Rick Orr

“I’m very much in favour that we go forward, because I don’t see how we can plan to the future … if we don’t know how we’re going to do it.”

Council’s unanimous approval was without Couns. Mark Tweidt or Don Cody, who were not present for Monday’s meeting.

The tender was awarded to AECOM of Saskatoon for $366,525, plus applicable goods and services tax – an overall expense covered by the city’s land development levy reserve over the next three years.

The last comparable water study took place in 1974 -- an analysis that was updated in 1982.

Since the last report, the city has grown by 52 per cent and increased its water use by 33 per cent, a report by manager of capital projects Wes Hicks reads.

According to 2012 provincial health records, the city’s population is 42,222. The city uses an average of about 17.66 million litres of water per day.

In 1988, the city’s water system was made up of 165 kilomtres or pipes -- a figure that by last year had grown to 214 kilomtres. 

Geographic location: Prince Albert, Saskatoon

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