Rochester water distribution consultation update

At its strategic planning session held in December 2017, Athabasca County Council set a goal to find out more about the costs of extending a water line to Rochester and to share the information with residents to determine if there was interest in moving ahead with such an investment.

The importance of dependable water in our communities was recognized but before moving ahead Council wanted to be transparent on the costs with residents before making a decision.

An information session was organized for March 28, 2018 to share the details of installing a water line and distribution system in the Hamlet of Rochester. This week a letter should be arriving in the mailboxes of residents explaining the outcome of the meeting and a questionnaire that was filled out by people attending.

Of those attending the meeting, 26 hamlet residents answered the questionnaire and shared their thoughts on bringing water from Athabasca to Rochester.  The following data resulted from the survey:

  1. Are you an owner or a renter? (25 owner, 1 renter)
  2. Do you have an adequate water source at your home? (20 yes, 6 no)
  3. Do you have a well or cistern? (18 well, 8 cistern)
  4. Do you support bringing water to Rochester? (12 yes, 12 no)
  5. Would you support a Local Improvement Levy if it meant water service? (9 yes, 13 no)
  6. Do you feel the monthly cost estimate given is affordable? (4 yes, 19 no)
  7. Did you find the presentation useful? (23 yes, 2 no)

County Council reviewed the outcome of the survey and discussed how to move forward at the April 11, 2018 Regular Public Works meeting. It was decided that the municipality would defer making a decision on moving the water supply project forward in any capacity until the majority of residents of the hamlet supported the project or if additional grant funding became available.

Members of Council want to be clear, should the current conditions change in regards to support or funding, County Council and Administration will revisit the idea of extending a water line to the community.

The information and dialogue we received from Rochester residents about bringing water to your community is appreciated. Please feel free to contact the Infrastructure Services Department or your member of Council if you have any concerns or thoughts to share about this decision.