A committee of Sundre residents has declared an “emergency situation” because they fear their homes and businesses could be washed into the Red Deer River.
The Save Our Sundre committee has a public demonstration planned for May 24 at 2 p.m. Residents will gather with track hoes, caterpillars and shovels at a location not yet determined, but somewhere close to the Riverside RV Park.
The eastern bank of the river is eroding away and they are concerned it wouldn’t take much for it to be gone entirely.
If that happens the Riverside RV Park — made up of 203 lots, 13 of them permanent — as well as town water and sewer lines would be threatened or destroyed. Greenwood Park could also be threatened.
The SOS committee wants to dredge the river, cleaning garbage and silt from the old westside channel so water can flow freely. It would mean erosion of the eastern bank would slow, buying the town some time to come up with more permanent solutions. However, to do so the town needs the proper permits from Alberta Environment and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which it hasn’t yet received.
Former Wildrose MP Myron Thompson, who lives in Sundre, has been pushing for the permits.
“Immediate action is necessary to relax current regulations to allow us to get in the river and remedy a dire situation sooner rather than later to prevent a tragedy from occurring,” Thompson said.
The town will still need to find a way to pay for the work to be done. But Thompson said they’ll work on one thing at a time.
“The main thing is if you’ve got a leaky roof get it fixed before the next rain storm,” Thompson said.
The town suffered devastating floods during the heavy rains of June 2005. Considered a one-in-200 year flood, it changed the course of the Red Deer River, near Sundre, moving it to an entirely different channel.
Thompson said the SOS committee plans to be very active to continue their push forward to get some action and they’re not giving up.