A major announcement was made by the federal government on Tuesday to help with flooding in the Red Deer River valley. The Minister of Infrastructure and Community, Francois-Philippe Champagne attended a news conference at the Royal Tyrell Museum to make the announcement.
The federal government is contributing $22 million dollars to Drumheller's Flood Mitigation and Climate Change Adaptation System. The project involves building new dykes in critical areas along Red Deer River and improving existing dykes. There are also plans, as part of this funding, to create better monitoring tools to better alert the Town of Drumheller and the Dickson Dam of rising water levels so the area can be better prepared.
"I think everyone in Drumheller today should feel proud. This is the second announcement of a 2 billion (dollar) fund that we (the government) have created for disaster mitigation adaptation. This is only the second announcement in Canada recognizing what that could do for the community of Drumheller," remarked the Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne Minister of Infrastructure and Community.
This announcement comes from the work of Drumheller town council, Mayor Heather Colberg, administration, as well as councils and administrations before them. Darwin Durnie, former Director of Infrastructure for the Town and now an independent consultant, knows how important this announcement is for his former home. "The amount of money that has been announced today gives good clear solid planning rather than trying to adapt a solution to a grant. This allows Drumheller to look forward, a hundred years, fifty years, and come up with a mitigation system rather than a project."
Mayor Heather Colberg has worked hard with the current council to get some support from the federal and provincial governments to assist in flood mitigation. "It's incredible. There is so many people involved, past mayors, councils, administration, the community. This council is incredible, the support of our CAO, our deputy CAO, administration. There's just so many people involved to make something this huge happen."
The Province of Alberta is also going to be providing funds for flood mitigation to the tune of 28 million dollars. The town has also set aside 5 million for flood mitigation projects to make a total of 55 million dollars.
The funding will also potentially provide jobs in Drumheller to work on the project.
According to Mayor Colberg, the project will take between 5 to 10 years to complete.