October 21, 2017

Correcting misinformation: Blackfalds Mayor Stol

Blackfalds Mayor Melodie Stol

Dear Editor,
Over the past few weeks I have noticed that there has been considerable misinformation being shared regarding the Town of Blackfalds Northwest Area Master Stormwater Management Plan. I wanted to take a few moments to share some thoughts with your readers and direct those who are interested to additional resources to learn about the project.
Every community must have infrastructure in place to deal with rain water and winter melt. For example, one can take a walk through the City of Lacombe and see first-hand a variety of constructed ponds, existing wetlands and lakes that all work together to deal with this water. When I look at Cranna Lake, the Len Thompson Fishing pond and Barnett Lake I see beautiful areas of Lacombe that are environmentally responsible. I see that the need for good water drainage from 1000’s of properties can be achieved with engineered and constructed ponds and wetlands working together with naturally formed water bodies.
I find it unfortunate that some people are suggesting that when rain falls on one community it can be a part of a healthy ecosystem but if rain falls on Blackfalds, it somehow turns into toxic waste that will destroy the environment.
Blackfalds sits across two watershed, the Red Deer River watershed on the south side of the Community, and the Battle River watershed on the north side. We have obligations to protect both of the watersheds and to return water to both. Blackfalds is being environmentally responsible and investing over 10 million dollars in storm water systems over the next 8 years. The Northwest Area Master Stormwater Plan that has been submitted to Alberta Environment & Parks includes a series of existing and newly constructed wetlands that will receive and treat water before it reaches Lacombe Lake through natural treatment and monitoring processes that we see in every single community across Alberta. The Town of Blackfalds is working with Alberta Environment & Parks to meet and exceed water quality standards as it is our obligation to protect and enhance these areas with the care that we extend throughout our Community.
The engineering and environmental team for Blackfalds has completed the Alberta Environment & Parks public notification period and is currently addressing the notices of concern letters that have been brought forward. Working with Alberta Environment & Parks we will continue to approach this project respectfully and professionally. The ultimate objective of Blackfalds is to ensure that our project is environmentally sound; based on science and Alberta Environment & Parks’ current best practices for storm water management.
Blackfalds has successfully worked with Lacombe County and other regional municipal partners on a large number of regional infrastructure projects over many years. These projects have and continue to benefit citizens, businesses and industries in both communities. We will continue to work with Lacombe County recognizing that in order to be successful we cannot base our decisions on NIMBYism. We must use good planning practices, collaboration and we must also take the concerns of residents and do our best to mitigate the concerns they have.
If you would like to discuss or get more details of these storm water plans for Blackfalds please contact Brad Dardis at Stantec Engineering at 403-341-3320. Copies of the plan as well as copies of the Master Drainage Plan for the Wolf Creek and Whelp Brook Watershed that was undertaken jointly through the partnership of the Town of Blackfalds, Lacombe County, City of Lacombe, and County of Ponoka can be found online at https://www.blackfalds.com/town-services/public-works/water
Sincerely,
Melodie Stol
Mayor for the Town of Blackfalds

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