With the possibility of water flowing from the Town of Drumheller water treatment plant to East Coulee, residents are waiting to hear what the cost will be.
The Town of Drumheller has received partial funding to bring a reliable safe source of water for the easternmost residents of Drumheller. Right now they are getting ready to bring the details to East Coulee rate payers.
“We are developing an information package that will go to the residents and a town hall meeting,” said Mayor Terry Yemen.
In May of this year the Town of Drumheller was approved for a grant up to $3.4 million to extend water from Cambria to East Coulee. This is a 90-10 split meaning 10 per cent of the cost will be borne by the town. A local improvement tax will bring the water to the property line and residents will also be responsible for hook-ups.
For Janet Grabner, the news couldn’t come soon enough, she is ready to hook up to water at virtually any cost.
“I have terrible water, and have to buy a washing machine every three years,” said Grabner.
“We are on a coal seam and when we fill our tub we have sand in the bathtub. We put in a filter system when we built the house … and within a half hour the filter was clogged.”
Right now, she fills up in Rosedale for water to drink and cook with. Even with her poor well water, she still has to recomplete the well every couple years, which is time consuming and expensive.
“We just did our wells again and it cost around $700 to get the new pipes and sandpoints, and pump,” said Grabner.
She says it appears that opinion on whether water should be brought to the community are divided by who has clean strong producing wells.
“I think the people that don’t want water, already have great water, drinking the water from their well and are very happy with it,” said Grabner.
Currently she estimates that about one-third of the community is made up of cottagers, people who do not live in the community year round. They may be hesitant to fork out for water when they only spend part of the year in the community.
Irv Almadi owns a cottage and spends about 50 per cent of his time in the community. He says his cottage has good water.
“My only concern is I have a whole pile of vacant lots,” said Almadi. “I don’t know how they are going to handle those… I know when they brought the sewer in they said one thing, but did something else. I remember I appealed and got exactly zip.”
He sees both sides of the issue, especially for seniors. He said it is tough for seniors to continue to maintain a sandpoint, while at the same time it may be difficult for a person on a fixed income to come up with the funds for a local improvement tax.
Mike and Gwen Dangelmair came to East Coulee about three years ago. While he has good water, he is not opposed to tying into town water.
He understands the cost of the project could have some concerns.
“At the end of the day, there are lots of people who may not be able to afford it. If the town actually brings the water, they will not be bringing it to your door. They will bring it to a point on your property; and you’ll have to figure out the next $8,000-$10,000 to bring it to your house, and there are probably lots of people who don’t have the money,” said Mike.
“Ultimately in the long term it is going to increase the viability of the community and property values and things like that.
“I can see where some people are ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it type.’ For myself, if someone said ‘we are going to add a little to your taxes for the next 10 years, and we are going to put some water at your property line,’ I’d probably say ‘sure.’”
He adds he is interested in hearing the final financial estimate.
“I’ll be interested to see what the cost is. Is it going to be $1,000 a year for X number of years, or is it going to be $300? So I don’t really know and until I get some hard numbers it is hard for me to have a solid point of view.”
“It’s change, and people are always a little afraid of change, especially if it is going to cost them money.”