Inadequate sewer and water lines stall Meadow Lake development

By Mac Christie

A proposed subdivision development that would have seen two new homes built on Woodman Place in Meadow Lake has been denied due to inadequate water and sewer infrastructure.

The plan would have had the homes hook into the lines running under Larocque Drive. and although there is only one home currently on that line, city officials felt any additional homes would have put it over-capacity.

“There simply isn’t any capacity to be had there for additional development on that line at all,” said Coun. Toby Esterby.

Connecting to lines on Woodman Avenue, was similarly not an option.

“We would have to replace the existing two-inch lines with six or eight-inch lines,” said Bruno Kossmann, Meadow Lake city manager.

Kossmann added that the same would have to be done on Larocque.

Esterby noted that while it’s regrettable to have to deny the application of what would have been an attractive development, the city had little choice in the matter.

“We have to be forward thinking enough to recognize that no matter how good it might look on paper, if we create more problems by adding more things to the system that we can’t service properly, that’s doing a disservice to the future residents (of those homes),” he said.

The developer, Al MacFarlane of Meadow Lake Properties, said council’s decision is disappointing.

“I don’t have the same concerns the council did,” he said, adding he felt the line could handle two additional homes.

“Now instead of being able to subdivide it and put two additional houses on (the property), it’s going to sit the way it is for a long, long time I would suspect.”

Kossmann noted the city is planning to improve the water and sewer lines sometime in the future, at which point they would widen the roadway on Woodman Avenue.

But as Esterby told council, it’s a difference between what exists, and what the city is working towards.

“Those two time periods are, right now, an indeterminate time apart,” he said. “It might be years before we’re in position to provide proper services to the area.”

MacFarlane said this isn’t the first time he’s dealt with an infrastructure problem in the city.

“I think the whole of Meadow Lake is going through this challenge right now,” he said. “My livelihood depends on me being able to build and develop, and right now we’re essentially shut down,” he said.

While the situation is difficult, Esterby admitted there is a silver lining to the development problems.

“I guess it’s a good problem to have, because it’s related to the growth of the community,” he said.

Despite the denial of the subdivision, both MacFarlane and Esterby contended the decision won’t hurt or dissuade future developments.

“Unfortunately in this specific case the developer came to the table before we had the infrastructure to support it,” Esterby said. “But we’re still very much open for business.”

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