Flood protection meeting tonight

By: Tammy Rollie

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 03:23 pm

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Diamond Valley residents wondering how the Province will protect their community from future flooding will have their questions answered tonight.

The Province is holding a flood information session at the Turner Valley Golf Club on March 26 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. to highlight regional flood mitigation projects and educate people about emergency preparedness, river forecasting and the upcoming spring melt.

Kyle Fawcett, associate minister of recovery and reconstruction for southwest Alberta, said the session will provide area residents with information about the various projects that will help protect homes and businesses from potential flooding.

The public is welcome to look at the information and ask the flood recovery task force representatives questions, he said.

“They can ask about what’s going on in their area, whether it be from the MD of Foothills or from Black Diamond and Turner Valley,” said Fawcett. “There is a number of flood erosion control projects that have been approved. We want to provide an update to people on the progress we’ve made on a number of things.”

Among the projects slated for this spring in the Diamond Valley area is the construction of a berm upstream of Highway 22 in Black Diamond, the installation of boulders, netting and gravel in various places along the Sheep River to provide protection to key infrastructure areas and for bank stability, the stabilization of river banks, erosion protection for municipal roadways and mitigation and protection of the Decalta Bridge in Turner Valley, said Fawcett.

“We’ve dedicated $600 million over three years to mitigation projects in the province,” he said. “There is a whole list of projects and those will be available for information at the meeting. Those deemed a priority by the municipality will be going first.”

Information will also be provided on projects up and downstream of Diamond Valley for citizens interested in what is taking place in other communities and how it will impact the Sheep River and its connecting rivers, said Fawcett.

“We’ve hired consulting engineers for each of the river basins to look at the overall water management along the river basins from headwaters to downstream,” he said. “We look at all the projects proposed there and the consequences. We don’t just pass the problem in one area down to another area or up another area.”

In addition to viewing information on flood mitigation projects that will help protect southern Alberta communities, Fawcett said people can ask questions about their individual situations.

He said the province is pushing forward its disaster recovery claims with the expectation that 90 per cent will be dealt with by the end of March.

“We are making great progress on that,” he said. “We are trying to push as many files through the system as we can before the end of the month. We do know that there are going to be issues with more complex files so we will have people that can connect them to the right person.”

Turner Valley Mayor Kelly Tuck said while it’s been almost a year since the flood hit southern Alberta, Diamond Valley residents are still feeling the effects.

Residents in Black Diamond and Turner Valley remain on a water restriction and a fire ban to prevent the use of water in the event of a fire after the flooded Sheep River washed away Black Diamond’s water treatment plant.

Although Turner Valley’s water treatment plant wasn’t damaged in the flood, the community lost all but one water well and work is underway to repair and find new water wells and create a water infiltration gallery to supply both communities with adequate water.

“A lot of people are still wondering when are we going to be off of water restrictions and when can we have our fire pits in our backyards, but acknowledging the work that is being done,” said Tuck.

“It’s nine months later and we are still on water restrictions so there is still frustration.”

Tuck said residents in both communities have been doing a great job abiding by the water restrictions put in place on June 21, and she expects it to be lifted sometime this spring.

“People are just done,” she said. “They want their lives back.”

To learn more about mitigation projects taking place in their communities citizens are encouraged to visit their Town’s website.

For more information or to view mitigation projects across southern Alberta visit the Alberta government website at www.alberta.ca and click on “Flood recovery.”


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