City con­tin­ues with project to cre­ate de­signs for six flood pro­tec­tion berms

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Swift Current - BY MATTHEW LIEBENBERG mlieben­[email protected]­

The City of Swift Cur­rent is con­tin­u­ing with a project to cre­ate de­tailed de­signs for six flood pro­tec­tion berms.

Coun­cil­lors ap­proved two agree­ments in re­la­tion to this project at a reg­u­lar coun­cil meet­ing, Dec. 17.

The one agree­ment is with Golder As­so­ciates Ltd., an en­gi­neer­ing and en­vi­ron­men­tal ser­vices con­sul­tancy that will carry out the de­sign work at a cost of $199,700 (GST ex­cluded).

The other agree­ment is with the Wa­ter Se­cu­rity Agency, which will fund 50 per cent of the project cost through the new Flood Dam­age Re­duc­tion Pro­gram.

“It’s a new pro­gram that the Wa­ter Se­cu­rity Agency and the prov­ince have come up with that is in­tended to lessen the im­pacts of flood­ing through­out the prov­ince,” City Gen­eral Man­ager of In­fra­struc­ture and Op­er­a­tions Mitch Minken said af­ter the meet­ing. “We were for­tu­nate enough to have done a fair bit of work on flood mit­i­ga­tion pre­vi­ously. So we kind of had a leg up on get­ting into the early stages of the pro­gram. We're one of the first projects that’s been ap­proved un­der the pro­gram.”

The City will re­ceive a re­fund of $99,850 from the Wa­ter Se­cu­rity Agency, but the grant con­di­tions re­quire that the de­tailed de­signs of the berms are com­pleted by March 31, 2019.

“Golder has as­sured us that they’ll have their de­sign work done by then,” he said.

The City has pre­vi­ously used Golder As­so­ciates to carry out work on flood mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures. The com­pany was ap­pointed in 2012 to do flood haz­ard map­ping and that project iden­ti­fied six lo­ca­tions where flood pro­tec­tion berms will be an ad­van­tage. In 2014 the com­pany pre­pared pre­lim­i­nary de­signs for the six berms, which will pro­vide pro­tec­tion up to and in­clud­ing the 1:100 year flood level.

The new agree­ment with Golder As­so­ciates re­quires the cre­ation of de­tailed de­signs for the six berms and the prepa­ra­tion of ten­der doc­u­ments for the two pri­or­ity berms along the Swift Cur­rent Creek in the Ash­ley Park neigh­bour­hood.

Minken is con­fi­dent the City will also be el­i­gi­ble for fund­ing from the Wa­ter Se­cu­rity Agency's Flood Dam­age Re­duc­tion Pro­gram for the fu­ture con­struc­tion phase.

“At this point it’s for the de­tailed de­sign phase, but as we move into the con­struc­tion phase, then there may be some dol­lars there for us as well, depend­ing on how ev­ery­body else pro­gresses in the pro­gram, but it’s look­ing fairly pos­i­tive that there may be some money to as­sist us with the con­struc­tion as well,” he said.

These berms will be per­ma­nent struc­tures along the creek to pro­tect the ad­ja­cent ar­eas against flood events. The de­tailed de­signs will de­ter­mine how these six struc­tures will look, but there is al­ready a berm in the Ash­ley Park area on the north side of the creek. It runs east­wards along the creek from 6th Av­enue NE and a sec­tion of the Chi­nook Park­way is lo­cated on it.

“We're not sure whether that par­tic­u­lar one is high enough right now,” he said. “It may need to be raised to ac­com­mo­date the 1:100 event.”

Ac­cord­ing to Minken there has not been a 1:100 year flood event in the known his­tory of the city.

“There was the 2011 event, which was fairly large, and then there was one that was prob­a­bly a lit­tle bit higher in the late fifties, but they were fairly sim­i­lar in that re­gard, and they were 1:200 or 1:300 events,” he said. “By get­ting to the 1:100 event height we’ll be well pre­pared to with­stand big flood events if they hap­pen to come along.”

An im­por­tant ben­e­fit of a berm is the per­ma­nent pro­tec­tion pro­vided to an area. In the past the City had to pro­vide re­sources to pro­tect prop­er­ties against high wa­ter lev­els, which are costly and take away re­sources from other tasks.

“We wouldn’t likely be look­ing at hav­ing to do tem­po­rary flood mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures at any time in the fu­ture,” he said about the ben­e­fit of berms. “So hope­fully no more sand­bag­ging, no more sand boxes and all the rest of that stuff.”

The City in­cluded $800,000 in the 2017 bud­get for the flood mit­i­ga­tion de­sign and con­struc­tion project. The avail­abil­ity of that money was con­di­tional on the suc­cess of grant ap­pli­ca­tions.

“So now that the grants have come through, that money is still avail­able to us,” he said.

The 50 per cent grant fund­ing from the Wa­ter Se­cu­rity Agency for the de­tailed de­sign of the berms will leave more of that bud­get funds avail­able for the con­struc­tion phase.

“It will de­pend on fund­ing, but if ev­ery­thing is pos­i­tive and fund­ing is avail­able com­ing out of that, we would look to­wards con­struc­tion in 2019,” Minken noted.

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