By Trevor Busch
The Town of Taber has its sights set on flood mitigation in the area of 56th Street, but the project may not be moving forward in the immediate future due to the need for funding approvals.
The proposed 56th Street Stormwater Improvements project will enable the flow of stormwater from 56th Avenue along 56th Street, with a pipeline to the 64th Avenue storm pond, which would then be pumped through the outfall pipeline to the Oldman River.
“Council, I’m sure, is well aware we’re finding issues on 56th Avenue, 58th Avenue, 60th Avenue, and 56th Street. The area is completely flat,” said public works director and acting CAO Gary Scherer, speaking at council’s Sept. 26 regular meeting. “Water goes no where, other than slowly escapes into our industrial park. We did make that one improvement last year on 57th Street, a storm ditch improvement, which helped immensely, but the minute we get those new, intense storms, it just backs up — 60th Avenue is a great example, it floods the whole street.”
The total cost of the project is estimated at $3.31 million, with the first $3 million to receive 90 per cent provincial funding, and the remainder to receive 70 per cent funding. Under this scenario, the town’s contribution would be $393,000 of the projected cost.
“So this is us creating a project ahead, so that we can actually have a fix for the area, an improvement that can be part of flood mitigation for many years to come,” said Scherer. “The best part about this is, through the Alberta Community Resilience Program, 90 per cent of the first $3 million could be funded, and then 70 per cent after the amount left over from that. So basically on a $3.3 million project, the town’s contribution would be $393,000.”
The project has been designed for future additional collection pipelines on 56th Avenue, 58th Avenue, and 60th Avenue. There are catchbasins at all avenue crossings which collect stormwater and divert it to the storm pond, lessening the dependence on overland flow to drainage ditches.
“It’s a big project, there’s some big pipelines, we understand it’s a sandy, wet area, that’s the higher costs. We’re looking for council endorsement of the project, and to seek out the funding for the project. We’re going to apply for the project for 2017, but more than likely it will be few years down the road before we’re accepted,” said Scherer.
MPE Engineering has developed a Town of Taber Stormwater Master Plan intended to provide recommendations for improvement to mitigate stormwater damage to existing development that will adapt to the natural features of the land, and includes the project in question.
“I think it’s a great project for Taber to move forward with, and help with our flood mitigation, as it’s part of our storm water master plan,” said Scherer.
According to administration, “With weather systems becoming more and more intense, storm water management can help to control and mitigate floods in Taber”.
“It will slope from 56th Avenue down to your storm ponds,” continued Scherer. “We’re going to excavate part of the storm pond out to make it a better flow for the pipeline. It is a fairly substantial project.”
Following discussion at their Sept. 26 regular meeting, town council voted unanimously (6-0) to accept the 56th Street Stormwater Improvements in future capital projects, dependent upon funding approvals, and directed administration to make an application for funding to the Alberta Community Resilience Program (ACRP) for this project. Coun. Laura Ross-Giroux was absent from the meeting.
“The Alberta Community Resilience Program, they don’t normally fund pipelines,” said Scherer. “But now we can say we’ve had so much overland flooding in the area, we can’t do any more ditches. We can’t do anything else but put a pipeline in, because if we get a big rain storm there’s many houses that can be flooded in the area. We can prove that.”