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Draper Lagging Behind in Rural Water Project

Fort McMurray, AB, Canada / MIX 103.7
Draper Lagging Behind in Rural Water Project

Waterways May 2018//Photo by: Harvard Broadcasting Reporter Brandon Piper

Concerns are coming from Draper residents for the lack of progress being made to connect their homes to the water lines.

Construction on the rural water, sewer, and road rehabilitation program has been ongoing and is expected to wrap up in Conklin, Anzac, Janvier, Saprae Creek, and Gregoire Lake Estates either next year or in 2020.

However, there’s still no official timeline for Draper as the municipality continues to worry about slope stability issues in the area.

Draper resident Michelle Hondl tells Mix News it’s a frustrating setback for an issue that isn’t a surprise to them.

“The slope has been there forever, this issue has not in any way changed for the Draper residents so why should the Draper residents be left behind.”

Hondl notes around half of the homes, approximately 75, are on a slope.

She says she doesn’t understand why this is now an issue.

“It’s a factor of our lives living out there, so why now, why all of a sudden now this is a roadblock – it’s not an issue, we know about it, let’s move forward and have some solutions.”

One of the solutions going forward is to put a low-pressure system in the community – this could, however, limit the services in Draper.

“That means no fire hydrants so our residents are being put at a higher risk because firetrucks have to come out with a pool to access water to fight the fires in our homes, that is unacceptable in this day and age.”

Mayor Don Scott notes they need to find a solution quickly to maintain a consistent timeline on construction.

“This should have been done a long time ago but we’re doing the best we can with the circumstances we have,” he said.

So far, no manual work has been done in the area.

“It’s imperative that we get that service,” added Hondl.

Lot By Lot Assessments

At Tuesday’s council meeting, Wood Buffalo council approved conducting lot-by-lot assessments for each of the six communities.

They’re hoping this will give them a better idea on how much it will cost to connect each property.

This isn’t erasing the fees residents are expecting to pay as people in Conklin, Janvier, Anzac, Draper, and Gregoire Lake Estates will need to contribute no more than $16,000 for connecting, while Saprae Creek residents will only have to pay upwards of $10,000.

The municipality is also offering a long-term payment option for the service connection fee.

As part of the motion, residents who move to Draper within the next five years will be funded to help connect to the municipality’s water systems. Afterwards, they would have to pay out of their own wallet.

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