The Battleford lagoon upgrade project is now officially underway.
A sod-turning ceremony took place at the site Oct. 9, attended by Mayor Ames Leslie, Battlefords MLA Herb Cox, and other representatives including Phyllis Paddy from Thunderchild First Nation.
The lagoon upgrade project is estimated at $5.2 million dollars, and has been in the works for two years. Initially the project slated to be funded entirely from the town’s reserves. Instead, the town received matching funds from the feds and the province. The federal government’s funding is $2,106,000, the province is in for $1,754,825, and the town the remaining $1,404,176.
The funding came as good news to town officials because it means the town can find other uses for the $4 million that the town would otherwise have spent on the lagoon project.
“It means reserves are going to stay at a high level,” said Mayor Leslie at the sod-turning.
The funding also speeds up the time frame to get the project completed, as town funding would have been spread out over a three-year time frame.
“Thanks to the ministry of the Saskatchewan government and as well as the federal government … we were able to find three-way funding to get this done in one year,” said Leslie.
“This is a prime example of all levels of government working together as well as our First Nations partners,” said Cox. “This is what’s needed in our province because of our growth.”
The project will see upgrades to the entire lagoon, including increased capacity to service both residential areas as well as the new Thunderchild cannabis production site. According to Aubrey Whittleton, manager of utilities, up to two new cells are being added for aeration to the northwest of one of the existing cells. A new blower house will go up to provide aeration to the three existing cells as well as the new ones being added.
The project will be put out to tender and Whittleton expects the construction will get started in the spring. The entire project will be completed and the lagoons functional by the end of 2020.