The water treatment plant in Eckville was built over 30 years old, after the water tower was decommissioned, and is need of repairs and upgrading. File photo

The water treatment plant in Eckville was built over 30 years old, after the water tower was decommissioned, and is need of repairs and upgrading. File photo

Town of Eckville frustrated with lack of funding for much needed project

The Town’s water treatment plant is in need of an upgrade, but funding is hard to come by.

Eckville administration and council are a little frustrated with the grant process for Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater Partnership (AMWWP).

The water treatment plant in Eckville is in need of upgrading as there have been continuous equipment and control problems.

Because the upgrades needed are expected to be costly, the Town has applied for a grant under the AMWWP. However, the Town hasn’t received any word as to whether or not they have received the grant.

As of an Aug. 2 conversation with Danette Leask with the Province no announcements have been made for the grant, and Ramadan is under the assumption the Town did not receive anything.

“Project approvals each depend on how many applications are received and availability of program budgets,” Leask said in an email to Eckville CAO Jack Ramsden.

Despite being considered the “highest priority” under the program’s guidelines, the Town has been encouraged to apply for federal funding due to “limited budgets lately” for the AMWWP.

Ramsden says the situation is frustrating, and isn’t sure if funding will be provided to municipalities not part of a larger waste water system.

Leask said in an email to Ramsden “there weren’t many approvals this year” and no announcement has officially been made.

“It frustrates me that there is a grant program and no money there,” Ramsden said.

The water treatment plant in Eckville was built about 30 years ago, and hasn’t received much upgrades since then.

“We will have to be doing upgrades to our waste water system sooner rather than later,” Ramsden said.

Funds for the project have not yet been allocated, as the Town has been waiting on the outcome of the grant.

Leask says starting the project before the grant has been approved will not jeopardize any potential funding.

“That said, starting the project before an approval does not guarantee funding under the program either,” Leask said.

Leask told Ramsden the Town should apply for a federal grant under the Investing Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) as the next intake for the AMWWP will not be until November or December of this year.

The apparent lack of funds available through the grant program has Ramsden frustrated, as only one very large project was said to be funded at all this year.

“What about the rest of us?” Ramsden asked. “Shouldn’t there be funding available to the rest of the municipalities in Alberta?”

The Town of Eckville will continue to investigate options to fund the much needed project. The Town could proceed with the upgrades and wait until funding is made available through the AMWWP, and could also apply for other grants.