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Prince Albert to divert water from South Sask. River to avoid oil filled water PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joel Willick   
Sunday, 24 July 2016 17:35

As oil slowly moves down the North Saskatchewan River the City of Prince Albert has put forward an unprecedented plan to ensure safe water for its residents.

An oil plume from last week’s oil spill has compromised some of the containment systems set up to stop the flow and has already reached North Battleford and is expected to reach Prince Albert in the next couple days.

Prince Albert City officials announced on Sunday afternoon their plan to divert water from the South Saskatchewan River just downstream of Muskoday First Nation.

Crews are already in the process of constructing an above ground pipeline that will travel along Highway 302 bringing the water from the river to the city’s reservoir.

According to City Manager Jim Toye the plan should guarantee water for the community for two-months until the oil spill has been contained and cleaned.

“Our current water supply at the water treatment plant and our backup reservoir ponds will be providing residents with safe drinking water until this pipeline and all the pumps required are fully on board,” said Toye.

As for the cost of the pipeline, Toye admits they can’t give out a figure, but he does say he plans on seeking compensation from Husky Energy.  He even went as far to say they city would take Husky to court over the compensation if the energy company does not comply.

City engineers say the pipeline should be completed in the coming week and updates on the process will be provided.

In the meantime Prince Albert residents and businesses are asked to not use water war anything that is considered non-essential.

City officials say they have a plan to enact a bylaw restricting water usage by businesses and residents.

“Any non-essential use of water must cease and desist immediately,” said Toye.

The reason North Battleford does not have to implement the same measures is because they have a secondary water source that collects water from the ground.  This water has not been impacted by the oil spill.

In the latest on the spill from the province 100,000 litres of the 250,000 litre spill has been cleaned up on the shoreline or skimmed through containment efforts.

Heavy rainfall waters from Edmonton over the weekend made containment efforts difficult as the flow of oil continues to move down the river.

The province says three cases of oiled birds have been reported.  These birds are alive and currently receiving treatment.

Clean-up and planning activities throughout different government agencies will continue.

Last Updated on Sunday, 24 July 2016 17:49
Oil flows downstream toward North Battleford, Prince Albert after Husky Oil pipeline breach PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Friday, 22 July 2016 17:25

Pipelines at Crowsnest ASP Project. Photo courtesy Huskeyenergy.com

Both North Battleford and Prince Albert are warning their residents to limit water use as the imminent threat of oil plumes flowing downstream from a Husky oil pipeline breach threaten the water supply.

The province says Husky Oil's plan to limit the spread of oil has hit a major snag that is seeing oil flow towards North Battleford. Initially, Husky was aiming to contain the oil using booms at the Paynton ferry bridge but that was compromised.

The update coming on Friday afternoon says the spill "will require an escalation of action on the part of all parties."

The City of North Battleford has shut off its water intake and has the capacity to use groundwater for the coming few days, until the immediate risk has passed.

Meanwhile, The City of Prince Albert issued a news release advising residents to stock up a water supply in their homes over the next 24 hours by filling bathtubs, water jugs, and whatever else people can.:

"It is highly likely that the City will be shutting down the Water Treatment Plant intake from the North Saskatchewan River on Sunday as a precautionary measure. It is anticipated that a plume from an upstream oil spill will be reaching Prince Albert as early as Sunday, July 24. The City’s reservoirs will be filled to capacity with potable water until a shut down is necessary, and will be able to provide potable water for 2 days. A contingency plan is being formulated to prepare for a long term plan if it becomes necessary."

Last Updated on Friday, 22 July 2016 17:31
Prince Albert Grand Council youths show appreciation for police officers PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Friday, 22 July 2016 17:05

Prince Albert Police Chief Troy Cooper checks out the signs made by Prince Albert Grand Council youth. Photo by Chelsea Laskowski.

Prince Albert Grand Council youth are getting to know the people behind the police uniforms in the city.

On Friday, they prepared and delivered a thank-you hamburger lunch to Prince Albert Police Service headquarters.

"I think it's important to thank the police for risking their lives, and for us, because they do a lot of hard work," said 16-year-old Rebecca Strong.

Earlier in the day, the youths who are participating in the PAGC youth summer day camp created "thank you" signs, and held them up to show police. One youth even held his sign along a well-travelled intersection in Prince Albert so drivers could see it as well.

"It touched me right to the heart there. It was incredible," said Police Chief Troy Cooper.

"To see the youth actually holding signs and genuinely wanting to thank us, that as touching for sure."

It's an act of kindness that comes in the midst of a difficult summer for police officers across the world after a series of police-involved shootings in the United States. The killing of black men Alton Sterling and Philando Castille were both caught on camera and widely distributed online.

Even though Strong is only 16, those events have had an impact on her thoughts about police.

"Some of them are nice and some of them keep away a lot of the bad people. Like, I've watched videos of some bad cops and some good cops," she said.

Events like that are on Cooper's mind, and he said when youths reach out like this it's a chance for police to do their part to form vital relationships.

"We're reaching out to them to tell them that we care about them. We're going to show them the office, we're going to talk to them about careers in policing. And let them know that we're humans, that we have our own children, that we actually care about them like their own parents do and like the people at PAGC do," he said.

Grand Chief Ron Michel spoke to a crowd of about 30 people over lunch, and pointed out those relationships are especially important when you consider that PAGC has a very young population.

About 60 per cent of the 38,000 people are between the ages of newborns to 20 years old.

Next week the youth are holding a similar event at the Prince Albert Fire department.

Last Updated on Friday, 22 July 2016 17:13
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