On November 16, 2018, the City Councillors on the Utility Committee heard from Edmonton residents strong and collective opposition to the 2017 decision to reroute the South Edmonton Sanitary Sewer (SESS) trunk line to the Gold Bar Wastewater Treatment Plant. Speakers represented the following groups: Edmonton Nordic Ski Club, Edmonton Trail Runners, Highlands Community League, Beverly Community League, Capilano Community League, various other recreational groups and residents from Beverly, Highlands, Gold Bar, Capilano, and Oliver. A couple of engineers with experience in wastewater engineering and safety also spoke about risks, technology and inadequate buffer zones separating the Gold Bar Plant from surrounding recreational areas and residences. The following topics were addressed: the need for transparency from EPCOR and the City; the need for thorough public consultation about the SESS; the “human factor” that is missing in the SESS decision; the great potential our River Valley has for recreation and tourism; the benefits of continuing with the City’s longstanding plan to build the SESS to the Alberta Capital Region Plant; and, the anticipated negative impacts of bringing the SESS to Gold Bar. The meeting was held in Council Chambers and concerned Edmontonians filled the room. The outcome of the meeting was the following motion passed by the Utility Committee: “That Utility Committee recommend to City Council: That Administration report to Executive Committee on governance options that provide appropriate City Council oversight, transparency and public input on the operations and decisions made by the SSSF Oversight Committee.” In other words, City Council currently does not influence the decisions made by the SSSF (Sanitary Servicing Strategy Fund), the committee that moved to change the destination of the SESS in 2017. The Utility Committee is recommending changes to the governance of the SSSF committee so that City Council will have input into future decisions, including the SESS destination. This move would allow City Council to apply the rules of transparency and public engagement to future decisions.
Find more information on Facebook at “Save Gold Bar Park Alliance,” or email email@example.com to have your name added to the mailing list for updates. The work to protect our parkland continues. Thanks to all the residents who contacted their City Councillors and/or attended the meeting to show support.