Crack in Big Valley reservoir worries council

·2 min read

Water variances were the first indication of a problem during the Village of Big Valley’s special council meeting on Wednesday, January 13 and, following investigation, a crack in the reservoir was revealed as the culprit less than two weeks later during the regular council meeting on Monday, January 28.

The crack was brought up for discussion once more during the regular council meeting, held virtually over Zoom, on Wednesday, February 24.

“The whole lagoon, I think it’s going to need some more momentum,” said Big Valley Mayor Clark German during the meeting. “It has sort of been on the ‘Yeah, we know we need to do something’ list for quite some time.”

A video showing divers first detecting the crack was recently discovered, dated June 2020, according to new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Tracy Mindus during her first council meeting in the capacity of CAO.

One suggestion for a temporary repair was to install a bladder. However, a more permanent solution-sealing the crack from both the inside and outside with carbon fibre-would extend the lifespan of the reservoir by 20 to 30 years.

“I don’t think (the crack) is our only problem,” said Councillor Harry Nibourg.

Mayor German was quick to agree, stating an action log was created and a “bunch of potential” concerns are listed; he suggested the action log should be added to the agenda for an upcoming council meeting for review.

According to CAO Mindus, the village is looking into several grant funding opportunities to help support repairing the reservoir.

“The Water for Life grant is only for new water structures,” she said. “Alberta needs more watership partnership, but that grant ends in November so if we are approved we won’t get the money until (2022).”

CAO Mindus added, even if grant funding were immediately available, work would be unable to begin until the spring when temperatures warm up. Once work commences, it is estimated to take approximately 14 weeks to complete.

“We’re still looking at receiving quote information from various sources to complete the work,” said Mayor German. “Once we get that all together, we’ll look at what makes the most sense and continue for planning after the repair.”

Council also discussed funding allocation from the Municipal Operating Support Transfer (MOST) grant, which was given to help offset costs associated with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. One suggestion was to distribute a portion of the funds to non-profit organizations within the community. The village invited these organizations to submit a letter of request to CAO Mindus by Thursday, March 18 with supporting documents showing a loss of revenue between 2019 and 2020.

Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail