Sundre to get flood berm

Long-awaited funding for a flood protection berm near Sundre has been approved.

Long-awaited funding for a flood protection berm near Sundre has been approved.

The province has announced $3.1 million in funding to go towards flood mitigation measures along the Red Deer River.

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 neighbouring 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.

Across the province, 30 communities were affected by flooding — especially in High River and Calgary — that will cost $6 billion in rebuilding costs.

It’s too early to say what is in store for this year, said county Reeve Bruce Beattie.

He was pleased that the province had come through sooner than expected with much of the $3.4 million requested by the Town of Sundre and county, although it is unlikely the proposed 3.9-km berm will be in place for the coming runoff season.

“I would suggest I would be surprised if we were able to put it in before this year’s flood season,” he said.

Much remains to be done, including reviewing and approving the grant agreement.

A number of provincial approvals will also be necessary and a tendering process undertaken before any work can start.

“There are varying opinions on how long this will take.”

Fortunately, most of the berm work will be done on Crown land, which should make it simpler to line up the necessary land agreements.

A number of studies are underway to determine flood risks and ways to limit damage.

In January, Alberta Public Affairs named Stantec as the firm that will look for options to mitigate the impact of flooding, including the impact on water management downstream, environmental impacts, reducing risks to properties and locations, relocating utilities and other parameters.

Golder Associates is also looking at flood mitigation and where to build a berm as part of a provincially funded project that is creating flood risk maps for the Sundre area.

A hydrological study is also underway.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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