One of the bigger infrastructure projects scheduled for 2021 in Pincher Creek is replacing the storm drainage system along Church Avenue, Willow Street and Poplar Avenue. As part of the 2021 capital budget, $377,042.20 will be used to begin replacing the old storm sewer.
Pincher Creek’s drainage system is also getting a legal boost after council approved all three readings for a new storm drainage bylaw, Bylaw 1630-21.
Among other things, the bylaw lays out what can and cannot be released into storm drains. Because storm drains collect water run-off from the streets and drain into the creek and collection ponds, dumping fluids like oil and gas or substances like pesticides, soap and animal waste causes environmental damage that the town was ultimately liable for before the bylaw was implemented.
“It’s high time we have something on the books for this,” said Coun. Lorne Jackson.
Passing the bylaw was a way for the town to take care of the situation before problems arose, added Coun. Mark Barber.
“We’re being proactive in this regard, and I appreciate that,” he said.
The bylaw is based on Calgary’s storm drainage bylaw, which has been used as a template for other southern Alberta communities such as Lethbridge. The bylaw not only describes what can and cannot be released into town storm drains but also requires a two-metre distance between downspouts and streets in order to prevent icing during the winter and to encourage water absorption in lawns.
Since storm drains collect water from all land parcels, the bylaw gives the town authority to collect a drainage rate from a property hooked up to any utility. Two separate flat rates will be established for residential and non-residential properties.
The charge will be set at a future date when the fee structure bylaw is revised; fines for contravening the bylaw will also be set during that time. The fee structure bylaw review is anticipated to occur sometime after 2022 budget negotiations.
Comparatively, the City of Calgary’s storm drainage rate is about $6 a month, and fines for breaking the City of Lethbridge’s bylaw range from $75 to $10,000.
A draft version of the byaw can be read in the June 28 council agenda, available online at bit.ly/PC_June28.
Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze