Town council has decided to go ahead with extending Clearwater’s sewer system to the area around Dutch Lake.
This is a very good decision, and it reinforces the value to the community of incorporation as a municipality.
Dutch Lake has been described as the jewel in Clearwater’s crown. Few other communities are lucky enough to have such a beautiful body of water right in the center of town.
The lake is worth preserving. However, it has no creeks going into it or out of it, meaning there is limited turnover of water. Add to that a growing number of residences with aging septic tanks around the lake and the danger to the lake’s water quality should be clear.
Talk about doing something about the situation has persisted for years.
Without municipal status, however, little could be done.
The cost of extending the sewer system to the area around Dutch Lake would have been prohibitively expensive without grants from senior levels of government – and improvement districts are not eligible for such grants.
It is important to remember that our taxpayer dollars provide those grants. By delaying incorporation for so many years, those opposed in effect gave away the grants Clearwater would have received to other municipalities.
Now we are incorporated and, with the help from senior levels of government, we have upgraded our sewer treatment system. Now we are looking to extend our sewer collection system to a high priority area.
The proposed Dutch Lake sewer extension also highlights the lack of planning that went on during the days of the Clearwater Improvement District. The sewage lift station for the proposed extension would be located on the low point along Old North Thompson Highway next to Dutch Lake Beach – in other words, next to Clearwater’s major well (the municipality actually draws most of its water from its gravity-fed watershed behind the ski hill but needs its two wells for backup). While no doubt it is possible to locate a sewage lift station safely next to a well, it certainly is not an ideal situation.
Yes, there are some growing pains with the new municipality. For example, we are spending a good deal more for staff and council than we did under the old Clearwater Improvement District.
While there is room for improvement, we also have to look at the value for dollar we are getting.