Shepard residents are one step closer to water and sanitation services 13 years after joining Calgary
CALGARY – The Shepard community, located in southeast Calgary, has moved one step closer to water and sanitation services after the city council unanimously voted on Tuesday to bring the services to the community.
Shepard residents have been waiting for city service since they were promised when the hamlet was incorporated into the City of Calgary in 2007.
There are just over 50 houses in Shepard, and all of them currently either rely on drinking water wells or have their water delivered by truck and stored in cisterns. All houses use septic tanks for wastewater management.
Frustrated, many residents of the community on the east side of Stoney Trail at 114 Avenue South East say they pay Calgary taxes but do not receive city services.
“It’s like they don’t even care about us and don’t even care enough about communication,” said Kay Balisky. “We have asked many times what the plan is for Shepard, when we will receive our services, and we get very little feedback.”
The area includes an industrial park with 88 large companies, including manufacturing and manufacturing facilities. The city is hoping to expand the industrial base in the area, but says the lack of infrastructure is holding this back.
“The fact is, there probably isn’t going to be a lot of development in this area until the services come,” says Shane Keating, ward 12 councilor. “It’s kind of a chicken and egg thing – you will get services when developers get up report, but the developers say, “” Well, until you bring services, I can’t come forward.
There are also plans for a large sports tournament park with several baseball diamonds, cricket fields, and soccer fields that cannot be developed without city water flowing into the area.
“I know it will be difficult to provide services. But yes, it would be nice to have something – something, not nothing. “Said Rico Squizzado, a 30 year old Shepard resident. “We don’t even pick up rubbish. And that’s pissing my pet off. We don’t have buses, we don’t have water. There is no service period. To repair the road too, one has to beg. “
Squizzado hints at a huge cloud of frost in the middle of a street near his home that was created in 2019 and cannot be repaired despite repeated calls to the city. Shepard residents had to put their own traffic cones on the road to warn motorists of the danger.
“At this point, they pay city taxes, they don’t have any services – not even garbage or garbage collection or a bunch of those things – so I think it’s time we got them to the rest of town,” said Ward 12 Counsel. Shane Keating.
Shepard’s location near the outskirts east of the Stoney Trail makes it logistically difficult and expensive to provide services to the area. Keating asked the city government to budget for the work and expects the city to seek funding for the province’s COVID-19 emergency infrastructure to offset the cost.
While advocating the idea, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi admitted that the province might shy away depending on the level of financial demand.
“This question won’t go on for a while, while some of this work is done we’ll give it the attention it deserves, but I have no idea if it’s a $ 5 million or a $ 50 million. A million dollar question or a 500,000 dollar question. “Said Nenshi.
“I suspect the government has a lot on its mind,” he added, “but you never know if you don’t ask.”
Several city councils whose boroughs border the city limits stated that they also have parishes under similar circumstances. The council was informed by the city administration that the plan to be developed to bring the city services to the Shepard could produce a reproducible template for other annexed communities.