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Construction begins on $2.2M Villeneuve Airport water line

The project should unlock the region’s potential, says Sturgeon County Mayor Alanna Hnatiw.
2407 VilleneuveAirportWater 4534 km
WE'RE DIGGING, HONEST — MLA Shane Getson, left, Edmonton International Airport operations vice-president Steve Maybee, and Sturgeon County Mayor Alanna Hnatiw ham it up at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Villeneuve Airport water line project July 22, 2021. The $2.2-million project is projected to be finished in the fall. KEVIN MA/St. Albert Gazette

Villeneuve Airport workers will have an easier time filling their pools and water bottles this fall once construction of a new $2.2-million water line is complete. 

Dignitaries held a groundbreaking ceremony at Villeneuve Airport July 22 to kick off construction of the airport’s new $2.2-million water line.  

Sturgeon County has been promoting Villeneuve Airport in recent years as an industrial and logistics fund through the Villeneuve Landing Network. A study by Edmonton Airports suggests that Villeneuve Airport supported some 235 jobs and adds about $30.59 million a year to Alberta’s GDP. 

Villeneuve Airport was not hooked to piped water and has to truck in about 15 loads of water a month at great cost, said Edmonton International Airport operations vice-president Steve Maybee. This limits the amount of fire protection available at the airport and puts a cap on its growth.

Sturgeon County council originally proposed to borrow $1.3 million to build a water line to the airport in February 2020, but dropped that idea when the pandemic arrived. The county revived the water line in July 2020 after the province offered it $2.2 million through the Municipal Stimulus Program — a post-pandemic recovery program designed for capital projects that would create jobs. 

Sturgeon County Mayor Alanna Hnatiw said airport officials had been working to get this water line built for about 15 years. The line would remove one of the last obstacles to growth at the airport and could draw hangars, offices, flight schools, and aerospace manufacturing companies to the region, creating jobs for area residents. 

“We’ve got some great technical minds in this region coming out of Edmonton and this would be great for them to get jobs at home.” 

Hnatiw noted the county is also funding a pilot project to improve broadband Internet access in the region. Council is set to get an update on the pilot later this summer. 

Villeneuve Airport is a strategic asset that relieved congestion at the Edmonton International Airport and provided important pilot training opportunities, Maybee said. In addition to boosting the airport’s ability to fight fires, this new water line would supply drinking water for paint shops, restaurants, and other businesses, making it more attractive to investors. 

Jeff Yanew, the county’s utilities manager, said this 3.3-kilometre pipe would connect the airport’s reservoir to the one in Villeneuve, which was linked to Epcor’s regional water network. Both reservoirs had plenty of capacity, but might need expansion in the future. Construction is set to start in late July and be finished by October, and is not expected to affect traffic.  

Questions on this project should go to Jackie Sargent at [email protected].  

Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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