December '10 Newsletter

Town Council News

December 2010                                                                                                                          Volume 5, Issue 6

Water rates to be reviewed regularly, adjusted as necessary


New water rates went into effect in the Town of Athabasca on December 1. While the new base rate of $3.22 per cubic metre is more than double the previous rate of $1.55 per cubic metre, the new minimum charge per billing is just five cubic metres, a significant drop from the previous minimum of 18 cubic metres per billing. The sewer rate has also been reduced, dropping to 25 per cent of the water consumption charge, down from the previous rate of 50 per cent.


The new rates are the result of costs related to the new Aspen Regional Water Treatment plant. As required, the new plant incorporates state-of-the-art technology that ensures the quality of the water and meets all current environmental standards.


The plant was built as a cooperative effort between the Town of Athabasca, Athabasca County and the Village of Boyle, with funding support from the Province of Alberta’s Water for Life Strategy. Since the October opening of the plant, each of the partnering municipalities have been purchasing water from the Aspen Regional Water Services Commission.


The current rates for water in the Town of Athabasca are based on projections and are subject to regular monitoring and review to assure that the rates are fair to residents while helping to keep the water treatment plant from operating at a deficit. The aim is to keep the rates revenue-neutral.


“We want to keep the rates as reasonable as possible,” notes Mayor Roger Morrill, “but we must provide safe water. We cannot compromise on quality.”


He admits that higher rates may be the reality due to current water processing standards and the associated operating costs, but he believes that the Town should not take it for granted that the water rates have to remain at a particular level. The rates should be examined regularly, he says, and they will be monitored on a month to month basis. Adjustments will be made as necessary.


“Now that we have the new water treatment plant, we have to make it work as effectively as possible,” says Roger. “We must stay open-minded to the reality of the cost to process safe, clean water, but we must also investigate what costs can be controlled after the fact.”


He points out that Town Council and administration have a responsibility to be good stewards of the public purse and this responsibility extends to the operation of the water plant and the respective water rates. Council knows that the people of Athabasca are concerned about the cost of living here.


“We need to be careful how we spend money,” says Roger. “We want our citizens to know that there is genuine concern on Council about how we direct the business of this community.”


Overview of the new water rates


The new base rate for water in the Town of Athabasca is $3.22 per cubic metre, up from the previous base rate of $1.55. The new minimum charge per billing is five cubic metres, down from the previous minimum of 18 cubic metres.


The $3.22 per cubic metre rate will apply to volumes of water used up to 18 cubic metres.


A rate of $3.34 per cubic metre will apply to volumes from 18.1 cubic metres up to 45 cubic metres.


A rate of $3.45 per cubic metre will apply to volumes above 45 cubic metres.


What is the breakdown of the new $3.22 per cubic metre water rate?


Cost of water from Commission        1.765

Commission Administration                 .16

Distribution System                             .61

Town Administration                           .19

Capital Repayment (15 years)             .495

TOTAL:                                           3.22/m3


The Town Administration charge is to cover billing and overall management costs.

To view a comparison of the old rates and the new ones click here

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Tim Woudstra, project assistant for the Athabasca Centennial Committee, gives a Power Point presentation to inform and inspire attendees at a public Centennial meeting on Nov. 18.

Athabasca 2011 Centennial update

When a roomful of local residents gathered on November 18 to discuss the Town of Athabasca 2011 Centennial celebrations, a sense of pride in the community shone through, evident in the questions, comments and suggestions that came forward.


A number of groups and organizations were represented and those who spoke during the meeting, and during the informal chat session that followed, expressed an interest in contributing to the success of the yearlong celebration.


Members of the Athabasca Centennial Committee, the group who sponsored the Nov. 18 meeting, opened with presentations to inform and update the attendees on what had been discussed and planned so far.


Then, representatives from several groups offered insight into some of the projects and events they have scheduled or are planning for 2011. For example, the Athabasca Garden Club has several Centennial-themed projects planned, and the Athabasca Lions Club is hosting a Cavalcade for Diabetes Awareness and a 45th Charter Night celebration in June.


The Centennial Committee invites all local groups, organizations, families and individuals to consider how they can tie the Athabasca Centennial theme into any projects or events they may have planned in 2011. Provide the Committee with dates, times and locations, and the event will be added to the Centennial calendar of events for easy reference by all members of the community.


In fact, the committee is offering an Athabasca Centennial Promotions Grant of up to $500 to help promote, support or facilitate the events of qualifying applicants. Complete details about the grant can be found on the Athabasca 2011 Centennial website.


Councillor encourages residents to help spread the news


Town Councillor Tim Verhaeghe, one of the council representatives on the Centennial Committee, looks upon the Centennial year as being an ideal opportunity to truly showcase the community and celebrate the Town’s identity and heritage.


“The Town of Athabasca will prove itself to be a very hospitable and welcoming host,” says Tim. “I want to encourage everybody to invite relatives and friends to visit the community, whether they are from Alberta, across Canada or from other countries. The more the merrier.”


Tim notes that the Centennial website has recently been updated and that it is now a great resource for residents and their family and friends to check for information.


“I encourage everyone to visit the Athabasca Centennial site and to keep checking it throughout the year, especially as we get closer to the Homecoming weekend (July 29-31).”


A link to the Centennial website can also be found on the Town of Athabasca homepage.


Deadline for Artisans extended   


The Centennial Committee is looking for your help in compiling a list of local artisans interested in displaying their artwork and crafts during the July 29-31 Centennial Celebration weekend. The deadline for submissions had originally been posted as Dec. 15, 2010, but that date has been extended to allow more people to get their names in.


Interested artisans and crafters should either currently reside in Athabasca, or have once been a resident, or be invited or sponsored by a current resident. All handicraft items to be displayed must have some local connection or significance to Athabasca.


A link to more information and the exhibitor submission form can be found on the News page of the Athabasca 2011 Centennial website.


Photos, Facebook, lapel pins and apparel


The Committee is also looking for “Slice of Life” photos representing contemporary Athabasca. If you have photos you would like to contribute to the collection, please submit them via email to


For those who like to socialize online, another way to keep up with Athabasca Centennial happenings is through Facebook. Keep an eye on the Town of Athabasca Centennial 2011 Facebook page for news, views and other updates.


For those who want to demonstrate their pride in the community, Athabasca Centennial pins are now available at the Town Office for only $2.00 plus GST. The full colour pins are exact replicas of the Centennial logo.


If you have an event coming up and would like Centennial pins for your gift bags, pins may also be available as give-aways. Please contact Montana at the town office (780-675-2063) for more information.


And finally, don’t forget about the various items of Centennial apparel on display at Cheap Seats Sporting Goods in Athabasca. Remember, shirts, ties, jackets and ball caps all make great gifts for family and friends who may be on your “nice” list.


Centennial links to bookmark:


Website: Athabasca 2011 Centennial


Contact the Centennial Committee by email:


Connect on Facebook: Town of Athabasca Centennial 2011

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Council Retreat to be in town this year


In an effort to cut costs and set an example of fiscal restraint, Athabasca Town Council has decided not to go out of town for their annual Council retreat in January.


“In order to save money, we will be meeting in Athabasca, using the Town Office to keep costs low,” notes Councillor Christine Nelson.


In past years, Council has scheduled their retreats in locations outside of Athabasca, largely to reduce distractions while engaging in discussions and planning sessions focused on the business of running the Town.


Mayor Roger Morrill believes the purpose for the retreat can be achieved by staying in town, and the cost savings will better demonstrate Council’s respect and responsibility towards the use of public funds.


“Our aim is to work as a team to be better administrators of the taxpayers’ money,” says Roger. “We are aware of Town expenditures where cuts can be made and Council retreat is one area where we feel we can cut costs at this time.”


The added benefit of staying in town, he says, is that Council will be present to deal with any issues that may arise. “We’ll be here and available to address problems.”


Although there may sometimes be reasons for holding an event like a retreat outside of the community, Roger believes that in the current economic climate, Council is expected to be much more diligent in their obligations to the residents of Athabasca.


“By keeping this event in Athabasca we are being more accountable,” he says, “and perhaps we’ll be setting an example for other committees and organizations in the community.”

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