Village of Alix lagoon project stalled on vegetation problems

Alix village council heard that its problematic lagoon project continues to live up to its reputation: another problem has floated to the top. Councillors heard a report on the lagoon issue at the Sept. 6 regular meeting of council.

Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White provided councillors with an update on the much-needed lagoon upgrades, including a report on the problems caused by vegetation and supply chain delays.

“Work is proceeding at the site,” stated White in her report. “Though it was anticipated there would be soft spots in cell six once the vegetation was removed, it appears the area is significantly larger than anticipated.

“There was no way anyone could have known how much of the cell was affected until they were down to bare clay. To remediate, contractors must dig down and remove base material, install a non-woven geo-textile material and re-pack dry base material brought in.

“Everyone is doing their best to keep costs down, including sourcing new base fill from approximately two kilometres away, but mitigating this problem is likely to use the entire project contingency funding, possibly more. Contingency funding is $175,000.

“Unfortunately, there has been a delay receiving the liner for the cells. As a result of this supply chain issue we would be looking at late November for liner installation on cell five. Temperatures at that time of year are not favourable to installing a synthetic liner and getting a proper heat seal on liner seams.

“As a result, the cell five portion of this project will not be completed until 2024. It is also anticipated there will be significant soft spots needing mitigation in cell five. We will not know the extent until the cell is de-watered and the sludge is removed,” added the CAO.

During discussion White clarified the vegetation problem included tree roots and other serious issues. She also clarified the supply chain delay on the liner was several weeks and there was nothing that could be done about it.

Coun. Tim Besuijen addressed the elephant in the room: what extra costs could Alix taxpayers face over these problems?

The CAO seemed relatively optimistic, noting engineers and contractors were diligent in keeping extra costs to a minimum and added it seemed there would be no extra costs to the village for contractor mobilization next year.

Councillors unanimously accepted the CAO’s report as information.

More supply chain issues

White reported ongoing work on a wastewater lift station has been delayed, again by supply chain issues.

White stated a company hired to supply materials for the lift station project is actually located in Kelowna, B.C., where serious wildfires raged this summer.

White stated workers who would’ve supplied the lift station materials were evacuated, hence the delay. She added it looks like the materials will be delayed three weeks, with a November estimate for completion of the lift station.

Minimum tax bill

White gave councillors an update on the village’s efforts to introduce a minimum tax levy for the 2024 tax year.

A minimum levy is a set property tax charge that a property owner would pay regardless of how low assessment actually is.

In her report it was noted the Village of Alix’ minimum tax levy will be $400.

White noted about 8.5 per cent of Alix property owners will be affected by the minimum levy and that the village is conducting a public information campaign to let people know more about the change.

Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review