Sundre Mayor Annette Clews says she hopes the 2011 federal election won't unnecessarily delay efforts aimed at obtaining funding for riverbank stabilization in town.
“My fear is it could be,” said Clews. “We have been discussing our flood concerns with the provincial government and they recognize our situation. We are one step closer to finding a solution but my big concern with the federal election now is that our window of opportunity for spring work may be lost.
“If the province should say yes, then we have to wait for the federal government and the window for being in the river is May to October so we need to know. With May 2 being the election, that could potentially put us two months behind schedule for getting anything accomplished this year, should we get the funding.”
Following a meeting with provincial cabinet ministers in February, the Save Our Sundre (SOS) committee was told by board chairman Lloyd Snelgrove that the provincial government would likely be able to find money for stabilization work if the committee could first get permits from federal Oceans and Fisheries.
The committee, in turn, wrote to Oceans and Fisheries seeking those permits. As of last week, when the federal election was called, the committee had not heard back from the department.
“We are still waiting to hear,” said Clews.
Formed under the auspices of the Sundre and District Chamber of Commerce following flooding in the region in 2005, the SOS committee says flooding protection on the west bank of the Red Deer River in town is a must.
Riverbank erosion along the west bank of the river has continued unabated since 2005, pushing the river closer and closer to the Riverside RV Park and other infrastructure.
The SOS committee has made numerous calls for provincial and federal funding for the banks stabilization work.
An $85,000 River Engineering Study and Design of the River Bank Protection Works of the Red Deer River at Riverside RV Park study was completed last year at the request of town council.
That report has been submitted to Alberta Environment and the federal department of Oceans and Fisheries, accompanied by a request for funding to undertake remediation work. No funding has been forthcoming.