The reservoir at Muskoseepi Park will remain empty this year, but the city is hopeful it will be full again next year.
Council approved an additional $885,067 for the Bear River Control Structure repairs last Monday (June 27). The total cost of the project is currently budgeted at $2.21 million.
The increase in cost comes due to the rise in the scope of work and the increasing prices of products due to material shortages and the price of fuel.
Residents near the reservoir have wondered why the water is so low this year, said coun. Gladys Blackmore.
“They're (residents) expecting a nice view, and right now, they have mud flats.”
The Bear River Control Structure regulates water flow downstream to allow the reservoir to fill.
The reservoir itself is for aesthetic and recreational purposes in the city.
Major deficiencies were discovered as part of the Dam Safety Review that was completed in 2021, said the city.
According to the city, other minor deficiencies noted in years prior were added to the tender to allow for a more cost-efficient repair.
No work has been completed yet.
Currently, the gates must be manually operated, and the reservoir needs to be empty for the city to begin work, said Brian Glavin, Grande Prairie Infrastructure & Economic Development director.
The gates have been left open to reduce the needed staff time to manually operate them, said Mike Harvard, Grande Prairie development engineer.
The majority of the work is planned to be done in the fall, with it being completed in November. The city says the contract should be awarded soon.
The city has a duty to ensure the repairs are performed.
“As part of our license to operate this structure from Alberta Environment and Parks, we are required to address the repairs as identified in the Dam Safety Report,” said Harvard.
“In the instance that we decide not to address the repairs, a ministerial order can be issued against the city to undertake the repairs.”
Coun. Mike O’Connor asked about other possibilities of use for the reservoir but noted that the city is “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”
Harvard said there is a plan to put forward a study for the next budget to gain an understanding of the cost implications of dredging and other options for long-term management of the reservoir.
Additional work is expected to be done on the structure in the next three to five years, said Harvard.
Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News