County eager to increase water service to rural areas

Richard Froese
For the Lakeside Leader

An opportunity is on tap to extend water service to more people in rural areas of Big Lakes County. Steps to do this were presented to council at its Feb. 28 meeting.

Council reached consensus that the county would provide connections to the tap on rural residential properties at a minimum cost of $20,000 per hook-up.

“If you want people to connect, you have to go right to the house,” said reeve Ken Matthews. “But we have to recover our cost,” he added. “It’s got to be economically feasible.”

Engineering consultant Trent McLaughlin agreed that connecting to the tap is more feasible, saying it would allow more intakes for connections, which helps with the economy of the entire system.

Some councillors agreed that connecting to the property line might entice more people to sign up.

“If we go to the property line, we can connect more,” said councillor Don Charrois.

However, another councillor contested that position.

“But we could have more lines, but not everybody would hook up to the tap,” said councillor Ken Killeen.

“It all depends how far you are off the line,” said councillor Dave Marx.

The service has long been a priority for Marx, whose ward does not have it. Plans to install a water line in the Prairie Echo area were initiated last September by the county.

Under the proposed policy, the county would annually set a budget and location in the fall and advertise to sign up interested residents. Costs to construct additional water lines will depend on market conditions, site conditions and mainly the distance between connections, council heard.

Council will continue to review the policy at upcoming meetings.

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