An appeal has been filed over the approval to drain stormwater from the Town of Blackfalds into Lacombe Lake.
On July 15, Alberta Environments and Parks approved the Water Act for the North West Stormwater Management Plan. The project would see stormwater being transported to a management facility to be treated and then drained into Lacombe Lake, Whelp Brook and Wolf Creek. The North West Storm Pater Plan builds on the Wolf Creek and Whelp Brook Watershed’s Master Drainage Plan.
Anita Alexander, a Calgary resident,who’s family has owned property at Lacombe Lake for 60 years, is concerned about the effects stormwater will have on the lake. She filed the appeal with the help of Ecojustice, an environmental law charity on July 28.
“This is my concern; I am a swimmer. I love to swim. I’ve swam my entire life,” said Alexander. “If you see stormwater catchment ponds, they specifically have signs on them that say: no swimming, no wadding, no dogs.”
Barry Robinson, the Ecojustice lawyer representing Alexander said, “Urban stormwater runoff contains metals, salts, nutrients, oil, grease and bacteria. The decision to approve the stormwater plan was made without a proper analysis of how these substances could contaminate the lake.”
A portion of the Trans Canada Trail runs along Lacombe Lake and the lake is known for being a birding trail.
“Lacombe Lake is an important habitat for nesting shorebirds and waterfowl, moose, porcupine, skunk, snakes and salamander, as well as a stopping point for migratory birds such as trumpeter swans,” said Robinson.
Alexander has been preparing to fight this decision for the last three years and refuses “to allow this lake to be another causality of urban expansion.”
Preston Weran, the Director of Infrastructure and Property Services of Blackfalds, said the project is needed for a quarter section of town that is to be developed.
“Part of this project will be building a number of connected storm ponds, as well as a small trunk line, to help allow that area to be developed and basically mitigate potential pollutants from going into the areas.”
Weran says the Northwest Stormwater System meets or exceeds Alberta regulations.
“This system is quite a bit more robust and quite a bit more involved than a lot of existing stormwater management systems in the area,” said Weran.
Weran says there are three other appeals over this approval. No decisions have been made regarding the appeals.