By Greg Price
White Ash Road residents continue to be a topic of discussion, as M.D. of Taber councillors explained the issue to town councillors during its joint council meeting earlier this month.
A handful of residents located near White Ash Road are hoping the Municipal District of Taber would explore providing water to the area. Letters in support and against have been received by M.D. council.
Cost and possible overwhelmed septic systems are a couple of the raised concerns of such a project.
“For us, there’s a few other factors, especially on White Ash. The infrastructure on that coulee bank would be a critical one for sure. If we are looking there, there are plenty of other residents within a stone’s throw of Taber that would look to water,” said Deputy Reeve Tamara Miyanaga of the M.D. of Taber, thinking of Johnson’s Addition, Red Trail, Horseshoe Estates etc. “There’s quite a few places that it would be a snowball effect and there’s not infrastructure money for that right now. We’d have to put it on the residents and would we sustain that?”
There are a total of 14 homes along the first mile of Ash Road, according to Miyanaga which would be putting a possible huge cost to cover on only a few residents.
“They were going to do water from Barnwell to Chin and all the way through Huckleberry, and at the end of the day, most residents were opposed due to cost. There were no infrastructure programs to make it any cheaper,” said Merrill Harris, Reeve for the M.D. of Taber.
“They thought that maybe a study needs to be done to go out to White Ash and Red Trail and service those areas so at some point down the road, whether it be five or 10 or how many years, at least it has been looked at and somewhat shovel ready if there was ever a program brought in for funding.”
Coun. John Turcato of the M.D. of Taber added in solving one problem of more convenient water access for White Ash residents may cause another is possible septic problems.
There is also the issue of water availability in the M.D. and town.
“I would suggest through the intermunicipal development plan, once that gets to council tables, you address that through policy. And of course, administration is going to be the buzz kill talking about the price for the town, because we have a limited amount of water ourselves. We are out looking for additional water resources to support the town for the next 100 years,” said Cory Armfelt, CAO for the Town of Taber. “It’s more than just putting a line in the ditch.”
“The sense I was getting was people were just thinking run a pipe, a turnout and off we go,” added Miyanaga. “I really think we have to be cautious that that’s not the way. Even to look at a water co-op, so we are not tying up municipal dollars for generations, we have to be very aware of how that would be managed going forward. This is a complex ask.”