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Berm study could make county liable

Going ahead with an engineering analysis of the earthen berm at Westward Ho could make the county liable for its removal, CAO Tony Martens said last week.

Going ahead with an engineering analysis of the earthen berm at Westward Ho could make the county liable for its removal, CAO Tony Martens said last week.ìIf we test the berm and find it's not stable or not suitable and do nothing to remove it, I think we'd be liable. That would be the county's concern,î Martens told the Gazette.Council had voted last month to pay the $20,000 cost of the analysis, but only on condition the county would not be taking on liability for the structure.Martens, after receiving a legal opinion on the matter, met in-camera with council last Wednesday to discuss the county's next steps.The berm was constructed by a local landowner after the 2005 Little Red Deer River flood without environmental approvals in place. The landowner was fined $5,000 last fall for carrying out subsequent upgrades to the structure and Alberta Environment is still investigating. The department has set an Aug. 11 deadline for the landowner to submit an action plan.Meanwhile, owner MarieAnne Schacher told the Gazette that all 15 homes in their subdivision received flood damage in 2005, refuting a comment made at a council meeting last month suggesting the damage was limited to the Schachers' and a neighbours' homes.ìThe whole village was affected. Everybody got flooded,î Schacher said.There are now 14 homes in the subdivision, she added, as one was later burned to the ground by its owner.Schacher said the full-scale consultant study requested by Alberta Environment, estimated to cost $172,000, ìis not reasonable.î





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