Burns Lake council has included $7500 in this year’s budget to conduct a study to investigate the feasibility of extending water and sewer services to the area east of town known as industrial site.
The owners of Lino’s Sales and Service, a family business within the village boundaries that is not covered by water and sewer, have been advocating for the extension of these services for the past 20 years.
“This change is long overdue,” said Gina Strimbold, who’s part of the family business. “It’s not nice to be included in the village and not be included in all the services.”
And they are not alone, according to Val Anderson, Burns Lake’s economic development officer. Anderson said most of the business owners in the industrial site and nearby area complained about the lack of water and sewer services during a consultation she conducted last year.
Councillor Michael Riis-Christianson said the lack of water and sewer services has been a longstanding source of contention for residents and businesses in the industrial site and nearby area.
“These services would allow for more dense development and also an increase of property values,” he said.
Riis-Christianson also questioned why this initiative has not been included in Burns Lake’s infrastructure priorities.
“I don’t remember us talking about this,” said Burns Lake Mayor Chris Beach. “I’m glad this topic has come up because it seems like something we should be talking about.”
Councillor Kelly Holliday also stressed the importance of moving ahead with this project.
“If we’re looking at further development, we have to be prepared and ready,” she said. “If we’re trying to attract new industry, and then we have to tell them ‘You don’t get water sewer,’ they might say, ‘We’re not coming to Burns Lake.’”
According to the village, there are six privately owned lots that are potentially available to be developed in the industrial site. The engineering feasibility study would determine the best overall route to connect the area to the village’s water and sewer mains.
“A possible route would be to connect to the existing services neat Fifth Avenue and Aspen or Casmir and come down through the undeveloped village owned property towards Hwy. 16 and then onto the industrial site,” says a village staff report. “In doing so, it would provide the village with future development in this and surrounding areas; then not only are you servicing the industrial area, but you’re serving future residential.”
A second possible route would be to connect the industrial site to the existing mains located near Hwy. 35 and Richmond Loop.
It’s still unclear how much the project would cost. Following completion of the feasibility study, the village will have construction cost estimates and engineering recommendations needed to determine the village’s desire to proceed to the detailed design phase.
However, the village won’t move ahead with the feasibility study just yet.
“Waiting until June gives staff the opportunity to get started on other projects,” explained Sheryl Worthing, chief administrative officer for the Village of Burns Lake. “If time allows we can begin the process then.”