Flood mit­i­ga­tion grant swept away with other ap­pli­ca­tions

The Drumheller Mail - - SPORTS - Terri Hux­ley

On Fri­day, May 19, Mayor Terry Ye­men re­ceived word that the flood mit­i­ga­tion grant ap­pli­ca­tion sta­tus from Al­berta Com­mu­nity Re­silience Pro­gram (ACRP) was a dud.

Three days prior, Ye­men sent a let­ter to En­vi­ron­ment and Parks Min­is­ter Shan­non Phillips about the ris­ing con­cerns of flood mit­i­ga­tion funds and buy­out de­ci­sions within the Drumheller area.

A de­ci­sion for the flood mit­i­ga­tion fund­ing un­der the (ACRP) has now been de­cided with a word back to the Town of­fice.

“These res­i­dents’ lives have been on hold since 2013 and they need a de­ci­sion so they are able to plan for their fu­ture,” said Ye­men.

The re­silience pro­gram is a cost-shared fund­ing pro­gram ad­min­is­tered by the Wa­ter­shed Re­silience and Mit­i­ga­tion branch of Al­berta En­vi­ron­ment and Parks that is not meant to act as emer­gency fund­ing but to fo­cus on the long-term of re­silience within any given com­mu­nity.

The Town ap­plied for the ACRP grant back in Septem­ber of last year and has fi­nally re­ceived its an­swer of dis­ap­proval. Many ap­pli­ca­tions were re­ceived by the gov­ern­ment but only a se­lect few ob­tained the money. Drumheller specif­i­cally can still ap­ply as all the listed items were el­i­gi­ble.

A part of this ap­pli­ca­tion is the pos­si­bil­ity of a buy­out of res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties in Le­high and West Rosedale. Af­ter the flood in 2013, a dyke to save those parts was de­nied as the cost to build the dyke would be more than the amount of prop­erty it would sup­pos­edly save.

“We did have to go through that process to have that re­fused – once that was not al­lowed by the gov­ern­ment then it opened up pos­si­ble buy­outs but you have to go through the process first,” said Ye­men.

“That was part of the process we were dic­tated to fol­low.”

Since the de­ci­sion to build was re­jected, the op­por­tu­nity for the ACRP grant has now also taken ac­tion to leave no funds. Res­i­dents have been in limbo on whether to stay or leave based on the grant’s de­ci­sion. With the de­ci­sion fi­nally made, the pro­gram plans to find al­ter­na­tive sources of fund­ing and to start talk­ing with res­i­dents about buy­out op­por­tu­ni­ties dur­ing the 2017/2018 year.

Ye­men stands up for the Town as they con­tinue do­ing their very best to knock on doors and make im­por­tant phone calls.

“That’s what you get in a bu­reau­cracy of a Pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment that is not an­swer­ing the ques­tions of the peo­ple,” said Ye­men.

The mayor plans to find other grants to meet that mil­lion dol­lars as well as re-ap­ply for the ACRP grant since all the items listed were el­i­gi­ble for re­sub­mis­sion.

“It’s not the town that’s hold­ing up the process, it’s the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment’s lack of due dili­gence and the process is hold­ing it up,” said Ye­men.

If the buy­out were to take place, re­spon­si­bil­ity would shift from the res­i­dents to the Town of Drumheller by us­ing the grant money to pur­chase the homes lo­cated in Le­high, Nacmine, and Rosedale.

“The Town will be in­volved and will help fa­cil­i­tate it where we can get the play­ers to­gether but ul­ti­mately, the de­tails of the pro­gram are go­ing to have to be ex­plained by the Al­berta gov­ern­ment,” said Ye­men.

Just like the res­i­dents of Rosedale and Le­high, the Town con­tin­ues to hold its breath.

“You feel very sorry for these peo­ple who are sit­ting in that sit­u­a­tion and we’re well into 2017 now and they still don’t have the answers,” said Ye­men. “Small town Al­berta has been left out,” said Ye­men.

mailphoto by Pa­trick Ko­lafa

2013 Flood - Wa­ter lev­els rose to dan­ger­ous heights, al­most reach­ing the bot­tom of the CN train bridge lo­cated on the west side of Drumheller near the Cana­dian Bad­lands Pas­sion Play site.

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