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Watershed councils get funding

Posted on January 11, 2018 by Vauxhall Advance

By Cole Parkinson
Vauxhall Advance

Vauxhall town council once again had a decision to make on whether or not they were going to contribute to the Oldman Watershed Council (OWC) but due to the town’s proximity to two watersheds, it complicated matters a bit for the councillors.

Even though the town sits atop the Oldman Watershed, it also sits over the Bow River Watershed as well.

“I know this has come to council before and we are involved with two watersheds so personally I am a member of both,” said Mayor Margaret Plumtree during the town council’s regular meeting on Dec. 19.

This wasn’t the first time council had received a letter requesting a contribution and in the past they haven’t been willing to part with funds.

While the councillors were happy with the great work they both do, they were worried about spreading themselves out too thin if they supported both financially.

“It’s tricky because we are involved in two and we have to be mindful of town money,” added Plumtree, who also stated that splitting the cost between the two would be the best option moving forward. “I like the idea of splitting it if we are involved in two. That is definitely a nice solution for both.”

The OWC had suggested a contribution of 40 cents per resident which totals to $489.00 with Vauxhall’s population of 1,222.

“I think it’s not that big of a deal but I do think that because we have a distinct stake in two watersheds, I don’t know if we should be doubling up,” said Deputy Mayor Richard Phillips, who also sits on the Bow River Basin Council.

Both of the watersheds play vital roles for the town hence their hesitation to just support one of them.

“Our water comes from the Bow River, our waste water ends up in the Oldman. It’s where your water comes from or where your water goes,” added Phillips. “The Bow River impacts us, we impact the Oldman.”

The contribution suggested by the OWC is for a membership but the number is just a suggestion.

”The other thing is there isn’t a fixed membership fee, it’s a suggested donation,” stated Phillips.

One of the sticking points for council on supporting the OWC seemed to hang around the fact the town was negatively impacting the watershed with waste water. Mayor Plumtree suggested a contribution to the OWC might be a good way to counteract the impact the town was having on the watershed.

“In a way you could say that we are part of the potential contamination of the Oldman and maybe we should be joining for that reason,” said Plumtree. “We did sign the water charter with them last year and had the high school do some educational videos as part of our commitment.”

With the suggestion of splitting the contribution so each watershed gets half, came a suggestion of cutting down the cost from the suggested $489.

“I would round it down a little because if everybody kicked in 40 cents per resident, that would be a lot of money,” said Phillips. “No more than $200 each, we’re a tiny town with limited resources. It may just be a little bit of money but it all adds up.”

Coun. Marilyn Forchuk made a motion to give each watershed council $200 and council voted in favour unanimously.

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