New anti-flooding strategy proposed for Sundre area

Holding back Red Deer River flood waters with berms not the answer say consultants

Mountain View County has been wrestling for years on how best to prevent Red Deer River flooding near Sundre.

For a long time, building a 4.1-km long berm to hold back flood waters in the worst years was seen as the best prospect. The province even approved $3 million for a berm project in 2013.

However, after further investigation and flood modelling, consultants determined that a berm is not the best way to control a river like the Red Deer River, said Mountain View County Reeve Bruce Beattie.

Instead, consultants are recommending a variety of measures to allow more water to flow through flood-prone areas rather than trying to block it and risking creating new problems upstream, and downstream towards Sundre.

“It’s maybe surrendering in a way to Mother Nature and recognizing there are other ways to approach this,” said Beattie.

“This is the goal, to more or less channel the flood and manage the flood, as opposed to trying to prevent it,”he said.

“The theory is not to create a situation that is backing water up (and) that’s going to create flooding above or behind (a berm).”

Allowing the water to flow, but in a more directed manner, is the new approach.

County council recently endorsed a plan by Matrix Solutions Inc. to improve “flood resiliency” in an area southwest of Sundre known as McDougal Flats.

The work would cost about $3 million and Mountain View County is seeking provincial approval to use the money already allotted under the now-abandoned berm project.

The consultants, who have been working on anti-flooding projects with the Town of Sundre and Mountain View County since 2010, have proposed that Range Roads 55 and 60, which have been under water during previous floods, be modified. Larger capacity culverts will be installed and the roads rebuilt so that water does not pool in certain places making them impassable.

Additional work on the river banks in the Range Road 55 area is also recommended. More culvert will be done around the Sundre airstrip, which flooded in past years.

Beattie said the measures will be designed to accommodate a “normal flood” rather than the more rare severe floods.

A portion of the proposed berm was built after flooding in 2011.

However, the project got bogged down because of concerns that the berms might protect property in one area only to create additional problems downstream, especially at Sundre.

There were also delays because the province wanted a McDougal Flats Flood Hazard Study to be completed before the berm was settled on as the best option.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Accused murderer takes stand

Jason Klaus said he had no idea his family would be killed by Joshua Frank

St. Patrick’s school modernization could include asbestos removal

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools have told staff, students and parents connected… Continue reading

Campaign renews push to make Bighorn Backcountry a wildland provincial park, ATV groups unhappy

A push to provide provincial protection for the Bighorn Backcountry area has… Continue reading

Providing more services while keeping taxes low is Blackfalds’ dilemma

Town has undergone years of above-average growth

Creationist will speak at home-schooling convention in Red Deer

Ken Ham has debated Bill Nye on the Earth’s origins

VIDEO: Replay Red Deer: Nov. 19

Watch news highlights from the week of Nov. 13

Creationist will speak at home-schooling convention in Red Deer

Ken Ham has debated Bill Nye on the Earth’s origins

Update: Innisfail girl found

A 15-year-old missing Innisfail girl has been located safe and sound. Police… Continue reading

Cost to fix Phoenix pay system to surpass $540 million, auditor general says

The federal government’s chronic salary struggles will take more time and more… Continue reading

Red Deer Christmas Bureau to help 1,300 children this year

Demand is high, but Red Deer always provides

CP Holiday train makes stops in Central Alberta

The popular train will feature entertainment from Colin James and Emma-Lee

Kittens rescued after allegedly being tossed from vehicle

Couple finds abandoned kittens new home through Facebook

VIDEO: ‘Party bus’ goes up in flames in Vancouver

Fire crews responded to the late night blaze

Chicken crosses B.C. road, stops traffic

Rooster makes early morning commuters wait in Maple Ridge

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month