By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
More than $500,000 has been approved to fund slough remediation in a Lethbridge County subdivision.
During council’s regular Aug. 5 meeting, Lethbridge County council discussed slough remediation at the Mountain Meadows subdivision. During their June 3 meeting, county administration had requested funding for the remediation work, as in 2020, they noticed significant movement in an existing slough in the Mountain Meadows subdivision. Based on available satellite imagery, the slough has existed since at least 2005 and saw little change until the past year, when it extended significantly and impacted the adjacent road and the adjoining property owners.
County council, at the time, directed administration to obtain advice from RMA Insurance and legal counsel. During this time, the county had excavated some material at the site to confirm elevations, and it was found the elevation they need to construct to is two-metres deeper than anticipated, there would be an increase in the construction duration and material excavation/backfilling required, which would result in a higher cost estimate by approximately 20 per cent. Administration requested council approves the Mountain Meadows Slough Project with a budget of $514,000, including a 15 per cent contingency, funded from the Municipal Sustainability Initiative.
County Infrastructure Manager Devon Thiele noted while council could choose to not complete any remedial work and continue to monitor, the closest property owner to the slough is having their own engineer look over their property, as they are experiencing some cracking. If council chooses to wait, the situation could worsen and more costs could be incurred. In response to a question about the county’s liability over a roadway they put in, Thiele noted while there was multiple liability portions on it, the primary one was the county approved the subdivision. “Subdivision is there, it was approved by county council with a specific offset. The roadway doesn’t help the situation in any regards and is an additional liability piece, but the primary one is we are the approver of essentially the residential (development),” said Thiele.
Thiele also said just because they see an issue, like the slough next to a property, that doesn’t mean it’s the cause of other issues on that property. He noted the house on the previously- mentioned property is outside of the offset line, and while it doesn’t look good to see the slough next to a housing area, it’s not necessarily the cause of issues, with Thiele giving examples of water penetration or a leaking septic system being possible causes. “There is always the potential in the future, any of these areas we do approve next to any of these coulees or adjacent to the river valley, unless you have set an even further adjacent setback as part of your subdivision approval, that there’s definitely, there’s always that risk point,” said Thiele.
“Proximity to river valleys, as much as there’s very scenic views, there’s also a risk variable involved with that.” Coun. Klass Vander Veen said he thought this was a “good lesson” for the county when it comes to approving subdivisions like this in the future. Council unanimously passed a motion to approve the Mountain Meadows Slough Project with a budget of $514,000 funded from MSI. Councillors Robert Horvath and Morris Zeinstra were absent from the meeting.