Sidewalk work to start this week; NW street work soon

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Look for those annoying gaps in the sidewalks next to railway crossings in Slave Lake to be fixed this week. Or maybe next.
That’s the word from Town of Slave Lake CAO Brian Vance, who sounded relieved last week that the crossings will finally be getting repaired after being damaged several months ago in a CN Rail crossing control upgrade project.
“Curbs and sidewalks first,” says Vance. “Then pavement. And CN is paying for all of it.”
The crossings have been a sore point with many residents ever since CN raised its rails through town last year. It left an unwelcome bump at three crossings. The one on Main St. was fixed (although not properly), but the other two have been giving drivers a jolt right along.

‘No smoking gun’

The ammonia leak scare at the multi rec centre last month didn’t amount to much, except to show that the safety system worked the way it was designed. It detected some ammonia in the compressor room and an alarm went off.
Vance says no ammonia was detected anywhere else in the building, and no mechanical failure was found.
“There was no ‘smoking gun’ release,” he says.

NE drainage

Good news and bad news in the northeast part of town. A cloudburst on July 20 showed that the slopes on the streets recently re-paved are working better. On the other hand, the storm sewer couldn’t handle the deluge and the usual big lake formed on 6th Ave. N.E. Vance figures the storm sewer grates were just not capable of handling the water as fast as it was coming. But it did eventually all drain away.

Part of the wastewater upgrade involves draining, cleaning and re-lining the three aeration ponds on the east side of town.

Main St. North waterline

Town project manager Doug Baird says this project has resumed and will continue with the installation of a 4-inch line north along Main St. from Tamarack Rd. This will run all the way to the river and service properties along there. It’s being managed by the town and has faced its share of challenges – not least from the very high water table. Baird says the water plant people have told him the Lesser Slave River at the water intake is a full metre higher than it was a year ago.

Sewage lagoon project

The multi-million-dollar sewage lagoon upgrade is moving into its next phase. First up is turning the recently-emptied dry cell into another active cell. That will bring the number of active cells ultimately up to four from three. But first all three of the existing ones have to be drained, cleaned and re-lined, which will happen one at a time. Then there’s the installation of the new SAGR (Submerged Attached Growth Reactor) system, which is described in online sources as an “aerated gravel bed.” Evidently it does a better job than the conventional aeration systems of removing ammonia.
Getting ammonia and other stuff in effluent down to the new acceptable standards is what the town’s wastewater upgrade is about in the first place. If the new system works well enough, the project will stop there. If it doesn’t, another roughly $2 million in additional work is prescribed.

Regional water line

Baird says the intake installation in the lake by Wagner is “100 per cent in place.” Connections in the pump house to the line that runs into town are in process. Otherwise, about 20 connections still had to be done on the line between Wagner and Slave Lake. Any damage to roads or other infrastructure caused by the waterline construction will be fixed by the contractor, Baird says.

NW paving

Baird says street upgrades in the northwest part of town (5th St. and 5th Ave.) should be starting “a week after the long weekend,” and last a couple of months.

Pavement is coming: 5th St. NW.

The big bump: concrete work on the CN Rail crossings is supposed to begin this week. Pavement comes after.

 

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