For over the past 100 years, Edmonton has been slowly removing industry from its Ribbon of Green, the River Valley. In 2017, a management committee (made up of City Administration, EPCOR and private developers) decided to increase sewage processing in Edmonton’s River Valley. They decided, without informing or consulting the public, to bring a large sewer trunk line (the South Edmonton Sanitary Sewer, or SESS) through urban residential areas and parkland with the intention of processing more sewage at the Gold Bar Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The decision was contrary to the long-established plan to expand wastewater treatment to the Alberta Capital Region Wastewater plant in Strathcona county. The decision to reroute the SESS was made without any public consultation and in apparent disregard for the concerns of citizens about increased sewage processing in the heart of Gold Bar Park. It also coincided with a recent transfer of drainage operations from the City of Edmonton to EPCOR and appeared to be self-serving.
The Capital Region plant is located on industrial lands, away from residents and with room to expand. The footprint of the Gold Bar plant is adjacent to Gold Bar and Capilano homes and doesn’t meet the current industrial setback guidelines. Residents on both sides of the river, who are already unhappy with the unsightliness and smell from the plant, do not see the wisdom of expanding the Gold Bar plant when a perfectly viable alternative is available.
A diverse group of Edmontonians consisting of area residents, community leagues, park users and river valley conservationists raised the alarm. They organized into a group called the Save Gold Bar Park Alliance (SGBPA) and presented their concerns to the City of Edmonton Utility Council on November 16, 2018. Gold Bar, Highlands, Capilano and Rundle Heights/Beverly Heights community leagues have all signed a memorandum rejecting the decision to bring the SESS into Gold Bar Park.
On Sept 30, 2019, city councilors will meet to discuss whether public consultation and engagement should be held regarding the decision to bring the SESS to Gold Bar.
What can you do to help?
- Contact your community league presidents, city councilors and local MLAs to share your concerns and request thorough public engagement on this important decision.
- Follow the Save Gold Bar Park Alliance on Facebook
- Visit the City of Edmonton’s Ribbon of Green website and let your voice be heard.
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