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Industrial Park now paying it’s own way announces Barriere CAO

New well for Barriere is almost ready to “hook into the system”

Bob Payette has held the CAO position for the District of Barriere now for over a year.

“Time goes fast when you are busy,” said Payette in an interview this week, “One way of gauging the business of Barriere is by some of the stats.”

The CAO noted building permits alone are up over 50 building permit approvals, which is probably twice as many as usual per year.

Building permits are for everything from decks, to infrastructure, to water connections, and right up to brand new homes.

“Even as far as the new companies we have been able to convince to come to town down at the Louis Creek Industrial Park, in that regard we have done exceptionally well. We are at the point where development permits have been approved and we are now working on detailed building permits for improvements on their lands, such as buildings, etcetera.”

Payette noted all of the lots available in the Louis Creek Industrial Park have been sold except for one piece of property that is technically sold but there are terms and conditions on the sale. One of the terms on that piece of property is a provincial air quality certification.

Why do they need an air certification?

“It’s a factory that produces a product for industry, so because of the nature of that kind of business you need to provide air quality control parameters that meet the provinces regulations, which is a good thing for everybody,” said the CAO, “Until the company provides that certification it is not a sale, but they are working on it.”

The Louis Creek Industrial Park now includes a company that grows marijuana for medicinal purposes who are currently getting their final certification, a Spray All business, the Ministry of Transportation quarry, Fort Modular who specialize in portable offices and accommodations, a foam compounding business who have received a development permit approval and are in the process of getting their air quality certification, and a distillery who already have their signs up.

Payette says the District of Barriere has retained 1.5 acres “for down the road. As we grow we will need space for our municipal equipment and such, so we slivered off and subdivided a spot for ourselves.

“I believe this is the first year we have actually started to generate revenue out of the Louis Creek site instead of having to pay the costs. It’s turned a corner, and we have enough businesses down there now that their taxation is producing more than the costs.”

Payette stated a big cost is running the water system at the Louis Creek site.

“It’s not cheap to run that water system. It’s a separate system specifically on the site. It’s a well, pump house, and distribution. It all takes time, money and maintenance. But now we have a robust program down there that should cover it’s own costs.”

Does this industrial park have sufficient water now to cover the needs of the businesses on the site?

“Absolutely.”

Asked if there is a secret plan in the works (according to the local rumour mill) for piping water from the Barriere township to supply the Louis Creek Industrial Park?

“No, the site is all self sufficient from its own system,” answered Payette.

Will the Barriere Fire Department be able to fill their water trucks down there?

“I have just commissioned a feasibility study for bulk water stations, and I’m very excited about this. What we are looking at is various locations in town that could potentially have a bulk water station, and then we would be able to provide potable bulk water to people who would like to have it outside of town, or even inside of town. Some people are on wells and they may breakdown. So, I am just currently working on that feasibility study, and one of the options is at Louis Creek because we have a reservoir there.”

The Louis Creek site would be a good spot for a bulk water station, and the CAO says he hopes to have that study wrapped up by the first part of the new year.

“It is another exciting part of our water project and a solid piece of our growing puzzle. But at the end of the day what we are trying to do is to keep the cost down for residents by growing the town.”

Payette says he calls this “smart growth”, finding ways to grow the town by finding ways that do not have an impact on the residents. “Having that smart growth, infilling, and looking for development that won’t cost us money but actually delivers revenue generation.”

He then provided an update on the ongoing concerns of town residents on the Barriere water system.

“The water system has been a very big topic way before my time here, but we are not alone. Water is quickly becoming the number one issue all over,” said the CAO while pointing out that Barriere is fortunate that it does have water.

“We now have a redundant well system where we have successfully drilled a second well at the location where our current well is and produces our quality water.”

Payette say this new well should provide the municipality water system with being able to double its capacity.

“We will be connecting it into the system over the next few weeks and then going through the health authority process of getting it certified. But on all accounts at this point it looks like it is a success.”

What does that mean?

“It means that we can confidently say the District of Barriere has enough water capacity for everybody here in town and for growth. It is hoped that in the new year council will be able to give the go ahead for irrigating and watering lawns.”

He notes there is always the chance that anything can happen over the next few weeks, but his own personal gut feeling is “we’re pretty sure”.

“The other thing about this process, although it has taken a couple of years, is the two wells that were drilled a few years ago that did not produce the quantity of water that was expected are still available for backup,” said Payette, “So we have a redundant system in place that we can rely on in the worst case scenario.”

This then gives the municipality four licensed wells within the town of Barriere.

“Some of the wells produce a lot more than others, and some have better quality of water than the others, but the system is robust enough now that we are confident we can provide that quality water.”

Next steps now involve tying the new well into the current system which requires a special control panel that has been ordered.

“We had a successful drill on the new well, and it produces 800 gallons per minute,” said the CAO, “The water is identical to the current well we are on right now, but until that tap is turned on and the new well water is going into the system we don’t want to count our chickens before they hatch.”

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