Non-residents of Kneehill County can now apply to hook up to the municipality’s water system.
The decision was made by vote of council at the June 23 regular council meeting.
Councillors read a report from John McKiernan, manager of Environmental Services, which proposed a new policy allowing people who live outside Kneehill County to apply to connect to the county’s water system.
“Administration is proposing a policy that would enable a non-county resident the opportunity to apply and connect to a Kneehill County rural waterline,” stated the agenda memo.
“Through some landowner inquiries as well as through the Intermunicipal collaboration framework discussions, it was felt that a policy to direct such requests be created.”
During the debate it was stated that municipalities allowing non-residents to hook up to their water system is not necessarily that unusual.
“Connecting to a waterline operated by a different municipality is not out of the ordinary,” stated McKiernan’s report.
“There are already a few examples of this arrangement in place such as county residents connected to the Three Hills transmission line, a few surrounding properties in the Linden area and Town of Drumheller residents connected to the Churchill system.”
It was stated at the meeting that while applications are not unusual, there should be some rules in place, including fees, for such situations.
“The proposed policy will guide and enable a non-county resident the ability to apply and receive (upon approval) a connection a Kneehill County rural waterline through their local municipality.
“The policy would follow the same requirements as a Kneehill County resident however there would be some differences.
Some of those differences are the requirement to be adjacent (as defined in policy 14-12 as well), cost of such connection, process to bring to council for approval, process of utility billing and payment of the non-resident connection fee.”
McKiernan’s memo described the non-county resident connection fee as $15,000 plus direct construction costs to install the connection for the year 2020.
Coun. Glen Keiver asked if this policy would prevent non-residents, for example, Mountainview County residents, from hooking onto Kneehill’s water system.
McKiernan clarified that non-residents don’t apply for the water connection. A non-resident actually requests their municipality to apply to Kneehill County on the applicant’s behalf, and then Kneehill County council decides to approve the application or not.
Kneehill County would accept payment from the applicant’s municipality.
Keiver added, “I was just wondering, is this someplace where we want to go?” He stated it may result in more applications than Kneehill expected.
Reeve Jerry Wittstock stated Kneehill received requests from Mountainview County residents to connect to Kneehill’s water system in the past and requests from towns and villages are handled the same way.
Councillors unanimously approved the new policy.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter