Flood mitigation grant swept away with other applications
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.
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.