An engineer’s report favours plans to divert the Red Deer River at Sundre.
Commissioned by the Town of Sundre, an engineer with Stantec Consulting in Red Deer has produced a report suggesting that moving the Red Deer River back into a former channel would protect the town from spring floods, which have at times been devastating.
Most recently, the river has been churning its way toward homes and businesses since a major flood in 2005.
The river moved to a different channel during the flood, bringing it to the very edge of the town’s developed areas, said retired MP Myron Thompson, spokesman for Save Our Sundre.
The group was formed earlier this year as an ad hoc committee of the Sundre Chamber of Commerce, whose members were worried that one more flood would carry parts of their town away.
SOS has lobbied provincial and federal officials to grant them the necessary permits and help cover the costs of diverting the river back to its former channel.
Stantec’s report gives the town the ammunition it needs to apply for permits to move the river and then look for longer-term solutions, Thompson said on Wednesday.
Providing the permits are approved, the town can then apply for funding through various provincial and federal grant programs, he said.
A Plan B will have to be developed if the permits are turned down.
Meanwhile, the river has been behaving so far this spring with little sign of any pending floods.
Cold weather has slowed the mountain snow melt while dry conditions mean there has been considerably less rain contributing to water levels this year, said Thompson.
The river is high and muddy, but does not appear to pose an immediate threat, he said.
SOS members meet today to discuss the status of their applications and to hammer out ideas for a Plan B if their permit applications are denied.