By Karlene Skretting
Westwind Weekly News
On Tuesday night, Magrath council passed a motion to go ahead and purchase a 300 micron filtration system for the community’s underground irrigation network. The decision was not unanimous.
The idea was first publicly discussed at their April 14 council meeting and on April 16 the Town distributed letters in the form of a flyer at the Post Office.
Information was also made public on the Town’s website and Facebook page about the possible purchase.
People were invited to the April 28 meeting to voice their opinions, either for or against, but no concerned citizens came to speak up or ask questions.
“The biggest reason the town is considering the purchase is so that there will be less issues for people in town who use the irrigation system,” said Mayor Russ Barnett in a statement following the April 14 meeting.
Other reasons for the purchase include the fact that the filtration system would allow the Magrath Fire Department and the Town to use the irrigation water instead of potable water, which will save taxpayer dollars.
According to CAO Wade Alston, the consensus on Facebook has almost unanimously been in support of the purchase of the filtration system.
“The vast majority of the feedback has been very positive. I was surprised there wasn’t more negative comment,” said Alston. “I have only had two people who (formally) complained about it.”
One came in the form of a letter, with a concerned resident feeling that the $10 fee per month to access the irrigation water should be sufficient. He was not in favour of the additional charge. And an elderly resident called to express concern about the additional $40 charge, living off a pension.
Counc. Baril said that he feels the community as a whole is in favour of the purchase, saying that everyone he has talked to see’s the value in it and understand that it will benefit everyone who uses irrigation water, even if they themselves don’t have any issues with filters, hoses or sprinklers getting clogged with debris.
The issue is currently the worst at the end of the line and most of those home owners were already purchasing and installing individual filtration systems on their own dime, noted council.
“I move that we approve the installation of the irrigation filtration system and charge a one time charge on each irrigation account of $40,” motioned Counc. Baril.
Counc. Godlonton was opposed, but everyone else was in favour of the motion and it was passed. Mayor Russ Barnett and Councillor Richard VanEe were absent from the meeting.
“My comment would be, we have irrigation water. Irrigation water is such, how fine do we want to filter it? What is the next step to be filtered finer and finer? I’m worried it is just an ongoing thing and there is no end in site so I am against it,” said Counc. Godlonton.
To cover the $30,000 cost of the system, council will bill a one-time charge of $40 to the May 2015 utility bill for every resident or business that has irrigation service to their property. The goal is to hopefully have the system in place by the middle of May when the irrigation water will be turned on.
The filtration system has an expected 20 year lifetime.