A proposed irrigation line from the Oldman Reservoir needed to water property on the north side of Highway 510 has neighbouring residents worried about noise pollution.
During the July 13 meeting, MD of Pincher Creek council considered a request from WC Ranching to place a buried irrigation line and electrical service line within the MD’s right-of-way along Range Road 30-2A.
The applicant indicated a 16-inch pipe with 400-horsepower electric motor would pump water from the reservoir to the section of land at 3-8-30-W4.
Approvals from Alberta Transport would be needed for crossing the highway, as well as permission from Alberta Environment and Parks to receive a water licence and to build the infrastructure within the recreation area.
The question of noise was immediately discussed by council.
Having recently passed about a dozen irrigation pumps while paddling the Milk River, Coun. Bev Everts said noise pollution was a big concern, especially since irrigation pumps often needed to be operating non-stop.
“They are incredibly noisy,” she said. “Noise travels across water, and there are so many people that are recreating on that beautiful body of water.”
Roland Milligan, director of development and community services, suggested moving the proposed route one range road over would mitigate the noise concerns without adversely affecting the project.
“As a rural MD, we certainly want to promote agriculture,” he said. “But I think we can also suggest to the applicant that they propose to place it in the road allowance to the east.”
Placing the pipe along Range Road 30-2 would provide a route with no residences, something that MD resident Barbara Boyer said would also avoid a rock face north of the reservoir.
“I strongly understand the need for irrigation and strongly understand why this gentleman is asking for this,” she said. “I just think there’s a less disruptive route.”
Speaking as an unscheduled delegation, Ms. Boyer related how she and her husband purchased their land back in 1992 and built their home in 2006, living there part time until the pandemic encouraged them to sell their home in Calgary.
With the hilly terrain towards Highway 510, Ms. Boyer said pumping water to the intended property would require a lot of force and therefore create a lot of noise only 133 metres from her front door.
“This will destroy our enjoyment of our outdoor space,” she said.
Council decided to table a decision until administration could speak to WC Ranching about the alternative eastern route and collect information on how loud the electric pump would be.
Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze