District closes lane for Water Treatment Plant

A local resident talked to Houston council last Tuesday about concerns involving a lane closure connected to the new water treatment plant.

A local resident talked to Houston council last Tuesday about concerns involving a lane closure connected to the new water treatment plant.

Bonnie Decooman lives in a home adjacent to the water treatment plant site, and said the lane was closed off without any notice to residents.

“We have always had access to the back of our property,” she said, adding that they rent the property beside them and their renters use the alleyway to access their wood shed.

Decooman said she and her husband Wayde talked to the contractors, who said the dirt and gravel will go right up to their fence line, which is nearly two feet in from their property line.

Interim Director of Engineering Tony Edwards said he didn’t think it was.

“If it is, it will be made right, but I’m a little surprised to hear that,” he said.

Residents were coming onto the District site and circling back across the lane – not using the lane itself, Edwards said.

Edwards says they could provide other access or put up a retaining wall and save the lane, but they are trying to avoid that extra cost.

“We’re not opposed to putting in a retaining wall if it makes sense. It’s going to add more cost to the budget – that’s our only concern,” said Mayor Bill Holmberg.

Linda Poznikoff, District CAO, said council gave direction October 1 for staff to move forward with works and closing the lane – which is owned by the District of Houston.

They did the first reading of the official bylaw to close the lane last Tuesday, and following that reading they give public notice and send letters to adjacent property owners, Poznikoff said.

She says there is a period for public feedback until Nov. 27, and then council decides on official approval Dec. 4.

In the meantime, the lane is owned by the District of Houston and can be used for their gravel storage and works, said Edwards.

Decooman says her other big concern is the spring flooding.

“We’ve lived there 15 years and we’ve never had a problem with flood waters or water seepage,” she said, adding that she hopes the District of Houston is considering that in their construction plans.

Edwards said spring flooding is being considered and factored into their construction plans.

The preliminary site preparation contract for the water treatment plant is done, and the main contract will go up for bid (tenure) in early December, Edwards said.

Construction will start next April, he said.