Re­lated sto­ries

Worst ap­pears to be over for Town of Taber

Lethbridge Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Greg Price SOUTH­ERN AL­BERTA NEWS­PA­PERS — TABER

With many re­gions of south­ern Al­berta still gripped in a state of emer­gency due to over­land flood­ing, for­tu­nately for the Town of Taber, the worst is hope­fully be­hind them.

The Town of Taber is wind­ing down its emer­gency re­sponse to the high-wa­ter lev­els that threat­ened Taber over the past few weeks.

Crews worked to es­tab­lish berms and pump­ing lo­ca­tions, thereby di­vert­ing the wa­ter threat­en­ing the town. As noted in a press re­lease is­sued on Mon­day af­ter­noon, the wa­ter lev­els are no longer con­sid­ered a threat to in­fras­truc­ture or homes within Taber.

“It’s a sigh of re­lief for us from the fact we were able to take the state of emer­gency off as of (April 17),” said An­drew Prokop, mayor for the Town of Taber, in a Mon­day af­ter­noon in­ter­view with The Times. “That’s a credit to our EOC (Emer­gency Op­er­a­tions Cen­tre), our ad­min­is­tra­tion and all our staff that were tasked to that for­mat for be­ing so ef­fi­cient and ef­fec­tive in deal­ing with the flood­ing con­cerns in a timely man­ner and get­ting the best­case sce­nario end re­sult that oc­curred.”

Flood­ing con­cerns at first were com­ing from the south, mak­ing the wa­ter treat­ment plant a high pri­or­ity in the days and weeks that fol­lowed of warm weather af­ter sev­eral snow­storms.

“They jumped on that ASAP and were able to di­vert that ac­cord­ingly in the first sev­eral hours. That was key. Bot­tom line, it takes a whole lot of ef­fort to make things hap­pen. We had the use of many con­trac­tors in many ar­eas with ma­chin­ery at­tached to that. We had some great as­sis­tance from the M.D. of Taber as well, de­spite the high need in their own area,” said Prokop. “We are work­ing col­lab­o­ra­tively as best as we can all the way around. That of­fer is out to the M.D. as well in we will as­sist in any way we can.”

The Town of Taber is in close con­tact with the Mu­nic­i­pal District of Taber and stands ready to help if re­quested.

Deemed as “cat­a­strophic” in some re­gions of the M.D., part of the week­end saw High­ways 36 and 864 closed from flood­ing, along with a slew of sec­ondary roads, some of which have been washed out. The ris­ing flood­ing lev­els have threat­ened sev­eral M.D. of Taber homes, busi­nesses and prop­erty. Week­end re­ports have noted the main canal of St. Mary River Ir­ri­ga­tion District, the main ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem in the area which acts as a drainage out­let, was right at the brim. The agri­cul­tural in­dus­try is in crunch time with the fre­quent snow and flood­ing de­lay­ing seed­ing sea­son for farm­ers for 2018.

A full list of road clo­sures and up­dates on the emer­gency sit­u­a­tion are avail­able on the M.D. of Taber web­site and @511Al­berta is tweet­ing out up­dates on high­way con­di­tions.

The Town of Taber will con­tinue to mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion in the re­gion and no­tify the pub­lic should the town’s sit­u­a­tion change, which very well could hap­pen given Mon­day’s rain storm and the lengthy snow sea­son that looks to con­tinue well into April.

“This has proven you can­not an­tic­i­pate what is go­ing to hap­pen. Some (M.D.) crews have been work­ing 24/7,” said Prokop. “I hope we have al­ready seen the worst, but that is not a guar­an­tee. We are al­ways at the mercy of Mother Na­ture.”

The Town of Taber is still ask­ing cit­i­zens to re­main vig­i­lant and check their prop­erty to make sure drainage ar­eas are cleared and that wa­ter is able to flow to drains prop­erly.

If res­i­dents see over­land flood­ing within town boundaries, call the Taber Po­lice Ser­vices’s 24-hour ac­ces­si­ble line at 403-223-8991 to re­port it.

The town is thank­ful for lo­cals’ as­sis­tance and sup­port dur­ing the state of lo­cal emer­gency. That sup­port is on­go­ing as res­i­dents are be­ing asked to move their three waste col­lec­tion carts from the al­ley to their front curbs un­til fur­ther no­tice due to the mess flood­ing has made to back al­leys.

“Due to the large sat­u­ra­tion of wa­ter in the ground right now, this is just a tem­po­rary re­quest to do this. We an­tic­i­pate this will be for the next two to four weeks and then we will switch back. But that is only a guessti­mate with the weather,” said Prokop.

“There are ar­eas that are lit­er­ally mini lakes out in the al­leys. The ground is very wet and if you put pickup trucks out there, not only might you get stuck, you might do fur­ther dam­age to the in­fras­truc­ture. So far, the gen­eral pub­lic has been re­ally good about it and un­der­stand­ing. We are not sin­gling out any one area, it’s the same across the board for the whole com­mu­nity. We are just try­ing to pro­tect things as best as we can and not do any more dam­age.”

Photo cour­tesy M.D. of Taber

An ae­rial view shows some of the flood­ing con­cerns in the M.D. of Taber.

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