Flood mitigation work in Black Diamond is at a standstill as the Town awaits approval to proceed with its remaining projects.
Meghan Aebig, manager of flood recover for the Town of Black Diamond, expects construction will start again in late fall or early winter as Alberta Environment reviews the list of flood mitigation work needed in southern Alberta after requesting municipalities resubmit their project proposals for Flood Recovery Erosion Control funding by Sept. 4.
The Town’s list of projects includes constructing a berm downstream of the Highway 22 bridge, repairing/revamping two water drainage outfalls and restoring the north side of the Bob Lochhead Memorial Park operated by the Foothills Lions Club.
“I anticipate it will take a few weeks because they are looking at all the projects for southern Alberta,” said Aebig. “We only have funding based on January cost estimates. It turns out there’s many projects above (cost for) what we initially estimated due to many issues.”
Aebig attributes it to the increase in demand for materials and labour.
“The price has gone up substantially because there are so many flood mitigation projects in Alberta,” she said.
Construction costs for the downstream berm also increased because of changes to the design, said Aebig.
“Initially it was just a berm around the banks, but we have to move it out a little bit based on feedback from residents,” she said.
Aebig said the timing of construction is also an issue due to its potential impact on the area’s fish habitat.
She said the Town is working with Alberta Environment to establish a timeline for construction to have as little impact as possible.
“There’s a two-week window where construction can occur when it’s a low risk impact to the fish,” she said, adding those weeks are in August. “Obviously a berm takes longer than two weeks to construct.”
The outfalls, one at the Bob Lochhead Memorial Park that was destroyed in the 2013 flood and another near Wilrich Park, known to some as Lego Park, which needs modifications, aren’t predicted to cost more than the original estimate, Aebig said.
Also awaiting approval is restoration work to the Bob Lochhead Memorial Park. The former 67-site campground was devastated by the 2013 flood, where buildings, furnishings and land was lost.
Work to the campground over the last year resulted in 27 sites opening in the southern portion of the park two months ago.
An informal campground committee was then established to create a plan to restore the north end of the campground. Three options were presented to council last week.
The options were similar and council approved the third, as recommended by the committee, which proposes 20 new full service sites and an open area in the centre of the campground to allow for a playground structure and amphitheatre in the future.
Black Diamond Mayor Sharlene Brown said she is happy with the committee’s design for the campground.
“They’ve worked really hard and come up with a nice plan,” she said. “I know that there is going to be less sites, which is the unfortunate part, but it will have more sites than we’ve had this last season.”
Despite the delay, Brown is confident the projects will be complete before the 2015 rainy season and is proud of the work completed so far to protect the Town from potential flooding.
“The work is coming along really well and that needs to be celebrated,” she said. “We have come a long, long way compared to where we were in June 2013. We’ve moved ahead and in other communities there are still bridges out.”
A project not high on the Town’s priority list is the construction of a berm to protect water well No. 3 upstream of the Highway 22 bridge. Construction for that project is expected to begin next year, said Aebig.