City praises local community during flood warnings

  • Jun. 26, 2013 3:11 p.m.

The clean up is well underway in Red Deer and across southern Alberta as flooding has devastated many communities in the province.

In Red Deer, river levels peaked at about 9 p.m. on Saturday evening and have been decreasing ever since. Evacuation orders are still in effect for Lion’s Campground but residents who live along McKenzie Trails have been allowed to return to their homes after their evacuation order was lifted.

City crews are assessing the damage done to parks and trails, but luckily no damage was done to residential properties or other facilities.

The state of local emergency was lifted in Red Deer on Sunday.

“The generosity of Red Deerians was amazing during this event,” said Tara Veer, deputy mayor. “Whether it was offers to help with sandbags, or in whatever way possible, this community really came together.”

Red Deer College was placed on stand-by to be a reception centre for 500 people from other areas of the province impacted by flooding, a CalFrac Well Services crew helped sandbag one of the homes by the McKenzie Trails, and numerous Red Deerians were asking how to help the community.

“I want to extend great thanks to all those in the community who called us to offer support of volunteering their time,” said City Manager Craig Curtis. “During a situation like this, sharing information is a tremendous help to the City, and thanks goes out to local media and everyone who helped spread the word, and keep people up to date.”

A number of communities in Alberta are devastated by flooding, and now that Red Deer’s flood warning is over, the City is sending resources south including 5,300 sandbags, supplies to help with water treatment and a number of RCMP officers. A number of City staff have also volunteered to help impacted communities and may be deployed by the Provincial Operations Centre if needed.

“There was exceptional community spirit during this time,” said Veer. “With the worst behind us, we can send resources to other communities that need help.”

Meanwhile, in southern Alberta, clean up in communities such as Calgary, High River and Canmore are expected to take weeks.

On Monday, the Government of Alberta approved $1 billion as part of the first phase of emergency recovery and reconstruction funding for southern Alberta families and communities.

“Yesterday, we promised that our government would take steps to help the more than 100,000 displaced Albertans that were affected by this flood,” said Premier Alison Redford. “Today we’re taking action.”

To help the people who are still displaced and can’t go home, government will provide pre-loaded debit cards that will help with their immediate housing needs and day-to-day purchases. Those who qualify will receive $1,250 per adult and $500 per child. Eligibility criteria and distribution plans are being finalized. The government expects to have these cards in place by mid-week. Further details will be announced as soon as they are available.

“For those Albertans affected by the floods, let me assure you that we will do everything in our power to support recovery and reconstruction,” said Redford. “We will rebuild together and our communities will be stronger than ever before.”

The $1 billion emergency recovery and reconstruction funding has been allocated from Alberta’s Contingency Fund to provide immediate support to Alberta families and communities. The emergency funding will provide direct funding support for residents who have been evacuated (eligibility to be determined); support for relief centres, including food, clothes and supplies; and resources to start rebuilding bridges, waterways, and other critical infrastructure.

The Canadian Red Cross has also surpassed $2.1 million raised for those who were affected by the Alberta floods.

The City encourages those who wish to donate to contact the Canadian Red Cross directly at 1-800-418-1111 because they are managing donations Alberta-wide, and can direct resources where there is the greatest need.

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com

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