RM council briefs: Deerhaunt Bridge repairs, study on Stephefield Lake

Deerhaunt Bridge in the RM of Dufferin has been closed for eight months and RM Council approved the cost of $230,531 for the repairs. (Aaron Wilgosh/Postmedia)

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The council to the Rural Municipality of Dufferin met for a special council meeting last week and discussed a couple of projects in the works worth noting including current repairs to Deerhaunt Bridge.

“We knew we were in trouble with the bridge about a year ago,” says Reeve, George Gray. “When they re-did the bridge, it’s a long bridge, and they did both ends but they didn’t do the middle 30 years ago so it’s a dated section of the bridge that needed repair. We were afraid something may happen so we did another inspection and closed the bridge.”

Deerhaunt Bridge has been closed for about a year now as the RM realized it was needed as the condition in the middle of the structure was no longer safe. The council to the RM of Dufferin approved the quote of $230,531.70 plus GST to PIER Solutions to make the repairs needed and you can see crews already in action at the site.

“They need to do it in the winter with the snow because of the importance of keeping the environment safe,” said Gray. “We put out tenders and got all the engineering and environment studies to get us here and this bid was the best we received to replace 10 piles along the bridge. It should be complete in a couple of weeks after being closed for eight months.”

Gray goes on to thank the ratepayers in the RM as it’s never easy to decide to close a bridge in the region.

“They knew the issue with the bridge and commended us for not letting it go on. There was one particular family on the south side of the bridge that it inconvenienced but they fully understood. By the first part of March, the bridge should hopefully be good.”

The council also approved a bathymetric and topographical survey for the Stepenfield Reservoir at $3,485 to find an accurate height of the sediment at the bottom of the lake.

“It’s a high slope and the water comes down and settles at the dam,” said Grad. “There might be 10 feet of water, 5 feet of water or even 3 feet of water. We really don’t know what the depth of the water we have is until we do this study which will tell us whether the water we think we have is correct or if we are a foot shorter.”

The Reeve and council are very concerned about Stephenfield Lake moving into the future as they feel there is not enough water and the demand on that lake are unsustainable.

“There are a number of things on the agenda as far as getting water into the upper reaches of the Stephenfield catchment area,” he said. “There are some areas we can possibly dig or fill, Treherne Dam has been focused on, and there are a couple of other spots off of the Assiniboine that we could pump from Assiniboine into the Boyne River or something. We need to sustain the water usage in the area and our community to grow, and when I say community I mean all of Southern Manitoba.

Right now, over 7,000 people depend on Stephenfield Lake for potable water. 20 years ago there was no one dependent on the lake.

“When Pembina Valley Water Coop entered the frame and provided rural water for Dufferin and the surrounding municipalities it just kept on growing,” adds Gray. “Right now 85 per cent of our ratepayers in Dufferin are on Stephenfield water so it’s our mandate as a council to make sure they continue with that water. PVWC is an unbelievable group but we definitely need more water for our community.”

The bathymetric study will compare data with a 2005 study done by the government.

Gray adds the RM’s 2019 budget will be a little later this year as a lot of energy had to go into other areas. He says it will still be cleared well before the deadline.