Berm construction unaffected by lawsuit

Construction on a 4.1-km anti-flooding berm near Sundre is expected to go ahead despite an ongoing lawsuit triggered by the building of a much smaller berm in 2011.

Construction on a 4.1-km anti-flooding berm near Sundre is expected to go ahead despite an ongoing lawsuit triggered by the building of a much smaller berm in 2011.

Three property owners southwest of Sundre are suing Mountain View County and a consulting company for $1.5 million in damages. They claim that a berm about 250 metres long built on the Red Deer River redirected flood waters onto their properties, causing much damage. The county denies the landowners suffered damages or that the county is liable.

Ron Baker, the county’s director of operational services, said there has been no indication the nine-month-old lawsuit will slow down the upcoming project, funded with $3.1 million from the province, which will cover most of the cost.

“At this present time, we don’t feel it will be affecting us at all.”

The bigger berm will join with the smaller one to provide extended protection from rising flood waters.

“Where the water is going around the berm now, it won’t go around the berm.”

It is expected the barrier will extend far enough downstream to protect all of the properties typically threatened by high water.

Baker was meeting with Alberta Environment at the site on Tuesday to discuss the upcoming work. Another meeting is planned for later in the week with officials from two other government departments.

“We’ve got our application in under the Water Act,” he said. “The process for building the berm is rolling right along.”

Land needed for the berm — most of which is owned by the province — is currently being lined up.

The river most recently overflowed its banks during last year’s spring runoff that saw a campground and RV park and dozens of homes evacuated in Sundre.

In Mountain View County, a number of roads were closed because of flooding cutting off access temporarily to Coyote Creek RV Resort and the Waldren subdivision southwest of Sundre airport.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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