The Town of High River is taking steps to protect the community from future flooding.

Last week, town council approved a $5.5 million floodgate project that will be installed south of the Centre Street bridge.

The design involves an automated sliding gate built into a berm that crosses the road in front of the bridge.

"This is all part in parcel with our whole mitigation plan, which is to protect this town from the 2013, levels plus an extra metre of free board. So we're going to be protected well beyond the 2013 level," said Mayor Craig Snodgrass.

The ultimate fix is to replace the bridge, Snodgrass said. But at a cost of $40 million, the project could take years.

"I'm not holding my breath and I don't have time to wait," he said. 

"We've got to get this. We've got to get this town protected so when the high water events, extreme high water events come, we can close these gates off to protect our downtown core."

Will a gate be enough?

Some residents are not thoroughly convinced the gate will be enough to keep high water levels at bay.

Nancy Rousseau, a downtown business owner who just opened a shop in February, says while the gate is comforting, she isn't certain it will work.

"Unless it's completely shut off at all entrances, water will get in or it will come in at the weakest point," she said.

The mayor says the whole town will eventually be bermed, making it one of the most well-protected communities in the country.

The plan is to have the flood gates in place by May 2018.