Town adopts stormwater plan for developing annexed land

After more than six years the Town of Ponoka has adopted a stormwater management plan.

After more than six years the Town of Ponoka has adopted a stormwater management plan.

The work was a culmination of extensive consultation with Alberta Environment and landowners not in the town boundaries. The Northwest Storm Water Management Plan, Wes Williams, with Tagish Engineering, presented the results of the study to town councillors July 23.

This plan ensures requirements are in place for development over a 358-hectare area annexed into the town. In the company’s study of the land Williams determined the water flows south toward the Battle River. “The whole basin drains through a 900 mm culvert.”

With this plan a developer has to comply with pre- and post-development flows while protecting the natural state of the land leading into a body of water called Lake 10. Natural runoff from the area is currently at 2.5 litres per second and developers would have to ensure runoff from properties they build would be no greater than 1.0 litre per second, he said.

Plans such as this are becoming a normal practice for Alberta Environment and developers are going to have to comply with regulations. Developers in the area will not have to do their own study.

“They don’t have to go through the rigmarole approvement process that we do,” said Williams.

Mayor Larry Henkelman was concerned landowners just west of the Hudson Green development area may not have to comply. Williams did not feel this would occur since Alberta Environment is becoming more strict with stormwater flood plans.

“They’re going to have to go through the approvals,” said Williams.

Henkelman’s other worry was the means of recuperating costs. “How does the town recover the cost from the people that didn’t participate in this agreement?”

CAO Brad Watson suggested the town could charge developers who want to opt into the plan. Although he did not have a final number, Williams estimated the cost at approximately $500 per acre.

Some of this land falls within Ponoka County and Coun. Rick Bonnett was concerned this would also tie the county’s hands with future development. He asked Williams if the two administrations should discuss this together before moving forward. “Do we just go ahead and say, ‘In your face, Mr. County.’”

“You’ve gotta look after your own house here first,” answered Williams.

Having the plan on the record and approved will help developers in town make proper plans. Adopting the plan gives the town the authority to inform Ponoka County the stormwater plan is in place and must be considered.

“We’re asking you to co-operate and asking your folks to adhere to this plan,” added Betty Jurykoski, planning and development officer.

Watson has also met with county CAO Charlie Cutforth to keep the county informed of the plan’s progress.

Williams has also made a presentation to county councillors as part of the Alberta Environment’s requirement to inform town neighbours. Enforcement falls to the government.

Cutforth said in an interview he is aware of the plan but has not seen the final draft. He believes they will have to ensure a stormwater plan in most of their developments. “We have to apply it…As future development occurs.”

Bonnett was the only councillor to oppose adopting the plan.

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