Flood measures demanded

A Sundre-area group formed to pressure the province into addressing flooding concerns wants to take its message to the top.

A Sundre-area group formed to pressure the province into addressing flooding concerns wants to take its message to the top.

“We’re waiting for a reply to our request to meet with premier,” said Myron Thompson, a Sundre town councillor and chairman of the citizen-led Red Deer River Quality Control Committee.

Thompson said it is hoped that a group of concerned citizens can be pulled together to travel to Edmonton to add some weight to their request that the province pay to build berms or undertake other measures to provide some flood protection for the Sundre area from the Red Deer River.

“We would like to take more than just myself and a couple of others,” said the former Wild Rose MP. “We’d like to take a small group.

“The river is (the province’s) responsibility. We’re taking the initiative to encourage them to do their job.”

The committee organized a letter-writing campaign and has gathered 150 letters in support of its appeal to the province.

“We’d like to get as many as we can,” he said. “There’s strong support from the entire river valley community.”

A public meeting has been organized for Saturday to bring residents up to speed on what has happened so far and to accept additional letters of support.

It takes place at the West Country Seniors Centre, at #4, 102 2nd Ave NW, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Mountain View County Council recently reviewed several flood protection options, including a $1.5-million proposal to extend an existing berm.

Other options included leaving the existing $250,000 berm as is, or taking it down to reduce the county’s liability.

Council did not make a decision on options.

However, it did approve a letter of support for the committee to take to Edmonton.

Thompson said the responsibility for flood protection rests with the province, not municipalities.

The committee is not backing a particular option to protect against flooding.

Thompson said all the past studies and engineering work have confirmed “that we are only one flood away from a major disaster and we’re looking for some preventive measures.”

Those could include everything from big-ticket items like a new dam upstream to longer berms and undertaking maintenance, such as dredging, clearing out debris and re-channelling the river, to reduce erosion.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com