Managing surface water has become a key priority for the County of Grande Prairie after dealing with overland flooding that has caused extensive damage to County infrastructure and personal property. In 2020 alone, Council approved an estimated $1.015 million to address several priority surface management issues affecting the County’s infrastructure as recommended by the Public Works department. This funding is over and above the existing budget for road repairs of $2 million and $515,000 for Ditch Cleaning Program for 2020.
The County is working on several priorities to manage surface water issues to help reduce the risk of future overland flooding. The following progress report from County Public Works provides the current status on priority mitigation projects:
- Range Road 111A – Work included ditch cleaning and culvert installation.
- Range Road 114 – Work included ditch cleaning and installation of two culverts.
- Range Road 113 – Work included culvert installation and water redirection.
- Township Road 705 between Range Road 112 and Range Road 113 – Work included new culvert installation and culvert replacement.
- Crystal Creek Acres –Two culverts installed at the subdivision entrance.
- 50032A TWP RD 732 – Large pipe installed, and ditches cleaned.
Work underway or near completion
- Meadow Brook and Autumn Wood area – Upon obtaining landowner permission, work to construct a drainage will commence.
- Sunnybrook – Work continues to locate an outlet for water.
- Clairmont – Planning underway to determine location to redirect water.
- Willow Wood/Maple Ridge Subdivision – Work to clean out culverts and install extensions of two centerline culverts on Range Road is partially complete. A new cross-culvert has been installed in the west end of Willow Wood. Upon landowner approval, work will commence to address surface water issues in Maple Ridge.
- Township Road 742 – Currently waiting for provincial government approval. Work will commence in the winter when the creek is frozen.
- Range Road 92 east to Range Road 85 along Township Road 710 – Culverts are installed and work is 95 per cent complete.
- Beaver, Muskrat and Beaver Dam Removal – Public Works continues to work with the Agriculture department to mitigate blockages where flooding has occurred by safely removing dams and problem wildlife.
In addition to these projects, development of a new County Surface Water Management Policy is underway. The policy will serve as a guideline to manage and coordinate surface water management activities within the County. It also aims to help prevent future overland flooding issues.
County is also working with Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) in identifying various situations where AEP is responsible for that are in relation to the:
- Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) (waste management & land reclamation)
- Water Act
- Climate Change and Emissions Management Act
- Public Lands Act
The County has applied for financial assistance through the Government of Alberta’s Disaster Recovery Program (DRP) to cover the costs of the flood mitigation efforts. However, there may be limited opportunity to access these funds in the future, leaving the County responsible to cover the costs of future repairs and upgrades. As well, the County is ineligible to receive DRP funding for private property flooding issues.