By Greg Price
Vauxhall town council is in agreement with the M.D. of Taber in being in favour of the Vauxhall and District Regional Water Services Commission in borrowing funds for the Prairie Gold Potato Water Supply Project.
Council passed unanimously to authorize the Vauxhall and District Regional Water Services Commission to undertake up to a $900,000 debenture to complete the Prairie Gold Potato Water Supply Project.
The project would provide potable water to Prairie Gold Potatoes and the partnership would ensure that the community and the potato industry continue to benefit from the presence of the company as a marketplace for 30,000 tonnes of potatoes grown within the region annually. The $900,000 would represent 1/3 of the cost of a water supply project which includes a raw water supply pipeline and construction of a treated water pipeline to provide water to Prairie Gold Potatoes.
“The water commission wants to be able to provide Prairie Gold Potatoes with water and PGP wants to access that water, but the problem is winter storage is insufficient to bring them on. Two options would be build a reservoir on site and BRID recently gave some land to the commission to allow that to happen and the other alternative is to create a new supply pipeline through the existing freshwater reservoir which is immediately south of downtown Grantham and bring that into reservoirs to get the water supply that way. That is probably significantly less expensive,” said Richard Phillips, deputy mayor for the Town of Vauxhall at council’s Nov. 28 meeting. “To construct a large new reservoir you are moving an awful lot of dirt and so on and installing a small diametre pipe for 3 1/2 miles is really not that big of a cost. The storage is quite large, it was built to supply the plant and it’s certainly not empty by spring.”
With the M.D. of Taber and Town of Vauxhall being joint members of the Vauxhall and District Regional Water Services Commission, both councils needed to approve the motion for the maximum $900,000 debenture with the M.D. passing its motion earlier.
“The advantage to the commission is this would bring another very large customer into play who would then be contributing money and in the long run we will get it back (the debenture) and then some. It is great long term,” said Phillips. “The potato industry is not leaving southern Alberta. They intend to be here for the long term. There are no guarantees with any business, but they look like they will be in operation many, many years from now. They are investing heavily in upgrading their facilities. They have a commitment. The hope is to get it up and running as quickly as possible because they need to utilize potable water in their processes as soon as they can. To do that, they either need to build their own treatment plant or tap into our treatment plant. This is good for everybody, it’s good for the residents of Vauxhall because ultimately they will have lower water bills because of this. It’s a good thing.”