The City of Winkler is reviewing submissions to a Request for Proposals (RFP).

After tenders for the city's wastewater treatment project came back $ 22 million over budget, the project was scrapped and went back to the design phase.

Jumping right back into action looking for alternative ways to make the much-needed expansion go ahead in some form, Winkler Mayor Martin Harder says an idea presented at June's Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) meeting in Regina sparked the idea to seek different ideas through the RFP process.

Harder says the demonstration they saw in Regina showcased a natural underground lagoon treatment system. "It's kind of a greenfield operation, but it is underground, similar to a field," said Harder. "We don't know whether that's going to be the answer for us, but that's why we went out with a Request for Proposal to see what the options are."

The RFPs closed last week Thursday and will be reviewed over the next two weeks. Harder said after the review process, they will follow up with the ones that make the most sense. "Water Services Board for the Province of Manitoba is still working together with us to do that," noted Harder. "So through that avenue together we're going to collaborate and find out what the best solution would be."

Harder added he was very disappointed to see the initial design scrapped, but at the same time, they can't sit back waiting for something to happen. He said they need to forge ahead and continue doing the research.

Disaster Financial Assistance:

At its last regular council meeting, the City of Winkler took a necessary step for any residents that may need to take advantage of the province's Disaster Financial  Assistance (DFA) Program following spring flooding. Mayor Harder said the Council passed a resolution requesting participation in the DFA program, which was a matter of formality.

"For our portion of the Disaster Financial Assistance, we don't believe that we have anything that that's needed, but we want to make it clear that if there are individual residents that fall under that category and are able to apply for it, the City of Winkler needs to pass this resolution. So we want to make sure we cover our residents."

Operating Budget:

"Between January and April, it snowed almost every other day, it seemed like," noted Mayor Harder. That is one reason that the City of Winkler is keeping a close eye on some key areas of this year's operating budget.

"Our snow removal budget actually is 95% used up. So it's going to be important to shuffle some things around and make sure we still have room for snow removal come October, November, and December...And obviously, the price of gas has gone through the roof, so there are those kinds of things that need to be moved around."

Harder says they want to make sure they know where they have room and where their overages are to ensure they can make adjustments if they need to.

Highway 32 Repairs:

Meanwhile, Harder is predicting the wait to be a long one for repairs to be complete on Highway 32 bridge that sustained damage at the city's south dike during spring flooding. Harder says the province is prioritizing its extensive list of damage, starting with the most urgent.

"The way it was handled and we removed the excess culvert that stuck out on the side of the road. Actually, in my opinion, I think saved the road because we were able to take it away, open those culverts back up so that they could flow, and so therefore the emergency isn't quite as serious there as it is in other places...whether it gets done this year, highly unlikely."

Harder says if it hadn't been for all of the volunteers that came to lend a hand to clear the culvert that night, it's very likely they would have lost the highway.