$20.5M boost for Alberta flood mitigation will help projects become reality

Canmore, Bragg Creek and Raymond, Alta., are getting a slice of federal money to put towards important flood mitigation projects following damage after floods devastated the communities in 2013.

3 communities impacted by the southern Alberta floods in June 2013 are getting financial help

Debris, felled trees and giant boulders swept up in the 2013 flood carved out 130,000 square metres of the creek bed and banks in Canmore. (CBC News)

Canmore, Bragg Creek and Raymond, Alta., are getting a slice of federal money to put towards important flood mitigation projects following economic and social damage after floods devastated the communities in 2013.

In Canmore, money will be spent on the Cougar Creek long term mitigation project, which the MLA for the area says is a debris retention structure.

In nearby Bragg Creek, the funds will be used to guard against future flood damage and to control erosion.

In Raymond, it will go towards a stormwater diversion project.

"Strategic investments in effective disaster mitigation projects like these reduce the frequency and severity of impacts, and protect our communities and public infrastructure from extreme natural events," said Amarjeet Sohi, minister of infrastructure and communities in a government news release Thursday.

The government of Canada says the three projects will help to protect more than 180 local businesses and thousands of residents, as well as encourage future growth and business investments in the area.

"The Town of Canmore is pleased to hear that the federal government will be contributing funding towards the Cougar Creek Long Term Mitigation project," said Canmore Mayor John Borrowman.

"The proposed debris retention structure will protect thousands of residents and critical infrastructure during a flood event. It is a large and expensive undertaking and this funding brings it one step closer to being a reality."

Alberta's Minister of Environment and Parks Shannon Philips said the money will build on the provincial funding already in place, "helping our communities adapt to a changing climate where extreme weather events will be more common."

"Through this funding, the Government of Canada is helping us pay for infrastructure to prevent future flooding. But what we're really buying is the peace of mind that Bragg Creek has a bright and viable future," said Liz Breakey, Bragg Creek area councillor for Rocky View County.

Breakey said a dike will protect the community from disasters and provide more certainty for development. 

"We have all sorts of projects just poised to go. Microbreweries, potential distilleries, a wonderful seniors complex, little boutique hotels — all of these things are ready to go but until we can provide adequate protection from flooding they would be uninsurable."

Construction could be completed in one year, she said. 

Raymond's mayor, George Bohne, says their money will be spent on a stormwater management project to help protect that community.