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Drumheller flood preparations paid off, mayor says

While several communities in southern Alberta try to find ways to protect against another flood like the one that devastated so many communities in June, Drumheller officals think they got it right.

Berms, dikes and rules about building near the river saved the town from disaster

Drumheller has been putting in flood mitigation since the 1980s, and the success of that work was seen in June when floodwaters hit. 2:08

Several communities in southern Alberta are trying to find ways to protect against another flood like the one that devastated so many communities in June.

But 100 days later, the town of Drumheller is patting itself on the back for being well prepared.

Since the 1980s, Drumheller has built berms and enacted rules, forcing homes near the river to be raised off the ground.

"We get it. We understand living along the river, we understand the challenges and with the land-use bylaw, and the diking system we have in place, it did save the community,” said Mayor Terry Yemen.

Drumheller Mayor Terry Yemen points out one of the berms that was constructed in the town to protect properties from floodwater. (CBC)

The policies weren’t always popular with residents, but they have been effective, said Yemen.

"There's a cost to developing along the river and it's quite expensive if you have to build up your property to the one-in-100 year level,” he said.

About 400 homes are on the floodway but only a few were seriously damaged, Yemen said.

A dike between the Red Deer River and Louise Henrickson’s home saved her property and many others, she said.

"If this hadn't been here, we would have been under water. So it's a good thing they built it.”

The town is asking the province for $12 to $15 million to further shore up its defences.

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