Save Our Sundre Committee (SOS) members are hoping to hear some good news about riverbank protection from Alberta cabinet ministers scheduled to be in Sundre on February 9, says committee member and Sundre town councillor Myron Thompson.
Formed under the auspices of the Sundre and District Chamber of Commerce following flooding in the region in 2005, the committee says improved flooding protection on the west bank of the Red Deer River in town is a must.
If that protection is not put in place, the risk to people and property in town will remain a real and present danger, the committee has said.
The committee has made numerous calls for provincial government funding for the flood protection work, including in a letter to several ministers sent in December.
ìThey are supposed to be coming to us with some information,î said Thompson. ìWe are looking for some resolve and hopefully that will come. I don't know what will happen so I guess we'll wait and see. We've got to see what they have to say. It sounds promising when they bring out the forces like that.
ìWe are basically asking them to meet their commitments to do a job with the river. And now we'll see what their response is.î
Rocky Mountain House-Sundre MLA Ty Lund and cabinet ministers Rob Renner (Environment), Hector Gourdreau (Municipal Affairs) and Lloyd Snelgrove (Treasury) will speak with invited guests at the Sundre Town Office starting at 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 9.
In December the SOS committee sent a letter to the provincial government ìasking for your help in finding and securing funds from the province to protect our town from future devastation calling for action.î
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.
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 earlier at the request of town council.
The 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.
The report put forward four options for remediation of the threatened west side riverbank in southwest Sundre.
The town later accepted the $2.75 million option that calls for rock riprap bank protection from downstream of the current gabion protection works to the Prairie Creek where it enters the Red Deer River.
The SOS committee's December letter reads, in part: ìAs the cold weather sets in for another winter and the flow of the Red Deer River drops to its lowest level of the year, we cannot help but be concerned with the lack of progress in solving the problem of the erosion of the riverbank within the town of Sundre. The high water levels expected next spring will mark the sixth anniversary of the devastating floods the town experienced in 2005.
ìThe Red Deer River and stabilizations of the banks are the responsibility of the Province of Alberta and the federal government as they are under provincial and federal jurisdiction. The continued riverbank erosion damage being done within our town began with the disaster of the 2005 flood, which continued every year since. This is still an ongoing disaster.
ìWe believe it would be a lot cheaper to act on preventative measures rather than compensation then when the river finally reaches public and private property.î