Dickson Dam spillways will be improved to better handle flood waters as part of a $30-million disaster mitigation initiative announced Thursday.
The federal and provincial governments are both kicking in cash to upgrade the Dickson Dam on Gleniffer Reservoir, the Jensen Dam near Cardston, and to construct reinforced flood mitigation structures on Exshaw Creek east of Canmore.
Federal Infrastructure and Communities Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne was joined by Red Deer North MLA Kim Schreiner and Red Deer South MLA Barb Miller at Bower Ponds to announce the funding.
Dickson Dam will get $13.8 million, split between the province and the federal government. Boosting the capacity of spillways will allow more water to be safely discharged out of the reservoir during floods.
“We’ve been working with the province in targeting projects that are going to make a real difference,” said Champagne.
The timing of the announcement means work can be expected to begin in the next construction season.
“When it comes to disaster mitigation and upgrades and rehabilitation of dams, those are complex projects and we want to get it right.
“We’ll do everything we can to get that going. It’s only smart to invest in infrastructure today, because that will avoid future flooding or the consequences of flooding, which has affected families and neighbours and farmers in the community.
“I think people will see very quickly outcomes (from) the announcement today.”
Champagne said the significant investment is an example of the benefits of all levels of government working together.
Miller said the funding announcement will be welcomed.
“The damage and devastation caused by the 2013 flood is still fresh in the minds of many Albertans,” she said.
Schreiner said the province has been busy working on ways to reduce the damage from future floods.
“More than five years after the devastating 2013 floods, flood mitigation projects continue to be near the top of priority lists for many Alberta communities.
“Whether it’s flood barriers, erosion control along vulnerable river banks or upgrades to dam infrastructure, these projects are at the heart of our efforts to help cities and towns adapt to a changing climate where severe weather events are now common,” she said.
“This is very important, not only to Red Deer but all of Alberta,” she said. “This is about keeping our citizens in our communities in Alberta safe.”
Since 2015, the province has invested $200 million in community level flood mitigation projects.