City officials monitoring Red Deer River water levels

The City of Red Deer is still keeping an eye on Red Deer River water levels this flood season.

The City of Red Deer is still keeping an eye on Red Deer River water levels this flood season.

The 2005 flood, the city’s worst, recent flood which submerged the MacKenzie Trail area, occurred June 19.

Trevor Poth, the city’s parks superintendent, said the city is not forecasting a flood, but is waiting along with everyone else for warm temperatures and spring rain, which usually combine to raise the river to its highest level.

Alberta Environment spokesperson Paris Engram said current conditions indicate a low risk of flooding.

“The snow packs in the mountains that would affect the Red Deer River Basin are very low. They’re below normal for this time of year. There’s no snow left on the plains and soil moisture is slightly below normal from last fall,” Engram said.

But conditions could change with heavy rain or snow, she said.

“You never want to say we’re safe. You never want to taunt Mother Nature, especially in Alberta,” she said with a laugh.

The water level for the Red Deer River varies between below to well below normal for this time of year. Smaller tributaries that feed the river are normal to slightly below normal.

The 2005 flood cost the city about $600,000 in repairs. Right now, the city is cleaning up from an April ice jam, expected to cost $60,000 to $65,000.

Most of the ice damage to Red Deer parks occurred in the trail section adjacent to Red Deer Golf and County Club and Lions Campground.

The trails have already been cleared of debris. New signs have been ordered, along with five benches and five garbage receptacles.

“We’re now into the final phase, fixing the boat launches, repairing the fence at the Red Deer Golf and Country Club, and just doing some paving repairs,” Poth said.

Repairs to the Kiwanis boat launch by Great Chief Park and the launch near Great West Adventure Park aren’t expected to happen until late summer in order to wait for the water level to recede and for Alberta Environment approval.

Poth said the Kiwanis launch is primarily used by people with rafts, canoes and kayaks, and they are having no problem using it. But people with boats will have a hard time because the base heaved and is unlevel.

The busier launch for boats, near Great West Adventure Park, was also damaged, but is still open and operable. It’s just not in perfect condition, he said.

szielinski@www.reddeeradvocate.com

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