Alberta could soon be home to Diamond Valley, if 2 towns become 1


Residents of neighbouring towns Black Diamond and Turner Valley in southern Alberta say if they amalgamate, the name of the new town should be Diamond Valley.

That's from an online survey conducted earlier this year.

The results were presented Thursday, along with a report that outlined some of the changes that would come with an amalgamated community, including how councillors would be elected for the new town. 

This is the fifth time since 1988 that the towns — separated by a three-kilometre stretch of Highway 22 — have explored amalgamation. The last vote, in 2007, saw the "no" side win by a narrow margin.

The towns share a water treatment plant and a sewage system, and in 2012 signed a "friendship agreement" that formalizes commitment to collaboration.

Officials said they would expect cost savings of about $370,000 per year through a reduction in staff and redundancies, plus a one-time cost of $1.6 million.

However, Turner Valley Coun. Cindy Holladay said it's hard to know exactly how much would be saved and passed on to taxpayers.

"We can't guarantee the decisions of future councils," she said.

"There's an election this year, there will be another one should the amalgamation go through in 2022, and those councils might decide that even though there's efficiencies to be found, they might want to increase the services that the newly amalgamated town provides."

Each town council is expected to vote on amalgamation in September.

If the towns decide to proceed, they would need to apply to the minister of municipal affairs for approval.

After that, residents would vote for a new council in November 2022.