Sundre group hoping to lobby the premier

Members of the Save Our Sundre Committee are planning a trip to Edmonton to talk to Premier Ed Stelmach about the need to divert the Red Deer River in Sundre.

Members of the Save Our Sundre Committee are planning a trip to Edmonton to talk to Premier Ed Stelmach about the need to divert the Red Deer River in Sundre.

The plan has been at a standstill, with Alberta Environment wanting more information before work can begin.

The committee wants to dredge the river, cleaning garbage and silt from the old westside channel so water can flow freely. It would mean the erosion on the eastern bank would slow. If something isn’t done soon, the next big flood could threaten Riverside RV Park, Greenwood Park and town water and sewer lines.

A letter sent to the government a month ago has gone unanswered.

Myron Thompson, former MP and a spokesperson for the SOS committee, said once the mayor gets back from holidays they plan to visit the premier.

“I have one question: Why are you so reluctant to meet your responsibility for looking after these rivers? I’ll see if I can get an answer,” Thompson said.

He said the town needs $30,000 from the provincial or federal government for an engineer to look at the river and answer Alberta Environment’s questions about the project. After that, the dredging could cost $250,000, with the whole project to improve the banks of the river costing up to $1 million.

Thompson is frustrated because he said they have been working on this project since April and there have been no answers from anyone in government.

“I think It’s disgusting to say the least and they’re going to hear about it when I get up there,” he said. “I’m just fed up with bureaucratic madness and red tape. The nonsense that goes on has got to stop.”

The proposal to dredge the river was supported in an engineer’s report, commissioned by the Town of Sundre. In the report, an engineer with Stantec Consulting of Red Deer suggests that moving the Red Deer River back to the former channel would protect the town from spring floods.

The Town of Sundre’s application to do the work on the river was returned in mid-June because Alberta Environment wants an assessment on impacts to river hydraulics to the upstream and downstream landowners and to the aquatic environment, a stamp of approval by an engineer and a timeline for a long-term solution.

sobrien@bprda.wpengine.com

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