Mayor Gerald Aalbers speaks with media following a meeting of city council earlier this year. FILE PHOTO
It’s been two years since the City of Lloydminster received a grant from Alberta for the amount of $6 million.
At Monday’s city council meeting, the signing of the grant agreement was approved.
The City of Lloydminster received a grant funding approval letter and conditional grant agreement from Alberta Municipal Affairs- Small Communities Fund on Aug. 15, 2015.
Alberta put in $3 million, while it was matched by the federal government, to equal the total brought to council.
“There was a lot of discussion with administration over the last two years about if we sign the money, would that relieve them of any more commitment? So, there was always that concern,” said Mayor Gerald Aalbers.
The uncertainty which has surrounded the wastewater treatment plant was a reason the grant was not accepted right at the time.
It is currently estimated to cost $80-million for the necessary and obligatory upgrades for the plant.
In the past couple of months, Aalbers and members of council have met with Alberta Minister of Infrastructure Brian Mason about the trepidations they had with accepting the grant.
“We felt he understood that concern, but he also assured us that it is realistic that he doesn’t expect they are going to get away with putting just $3 million towards the wastewater treatment plant,” he said.
If council did not accept the money, Aalbers said there might be a challenge to show they are actually committed to the required upgrades.
Aalbers explained the money was a “positive step” to moving the city where they need to be in regards to the plant.
“It’s a process and we will keep working that process,” he added.
Back in June, city council approved the desludging of the lagoons at the wastewater treatment plant, where they are planning to pay the $3 million cost out of the city’s reserve fund.
It is unclear at this time if the grant money could go towards this work.
“What we need to do is sign that application, sit down with the department and explain our situation, and say this will help by desludging the lagoon system, we will improve the effluent flow,” said Aalbers.
Sludge and solids settle at the bottom of the lagoons, which in turn, reduces the lagoons active treatment capacity and results in higher concentration of carbonaceous biological oxygen demand (CBOD) and total suspended solids (TSS), making desludging a necessary thing to do.
However, the desludging of the lagoons has no impact on ammonia or phosphorus levels, which the Lloydminster wastewater treatment plant has a high non-compliance rate.
In June city council approved a motion to write to the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency to ask for an extension on the wastewater treatment plant.
“There is not an official letter of extension yet. Now, it is being worked on as we speak with our provincial friends in Regina through administration,” said Aalbers.