Red Deer South MLA Barb Miller and Kim Schreiner, MLA for Red Deer North, look on while Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Francois-Philippe Champagne provides details on funding for flood mitigation projects in Alberta, including enhancements to the Dickson Dam in Red Deer County. Mark Weber/Red Deer Express

Funding announced for upgrades to Dickson Dam

Millions of dollars to go to ‘flood mitigation’ projects across Alberta

The federal and provincial governments have announced $30 million for disaster mitigation projects across Alberta – including upgrades to the Dickson Dam.

“The damage and devastation caused by the 2013 flood is still fresh in the minds of many Albertans, so today’s federal funding announcement is certainly welcome news,” said Barb Miller, MLA for Red Deer South during the announcement, which was made at Bower Ponds on Oct. 11th.

“Of course, the work on the Dickson Dam will be of particular interest to people here in the Red Deer area,” she added.

Upgrades to the Dickson Dam and the Jensen Dam (near Cardston) will improve spillways and bolster their capacity to discharge water during extreme floods. In Exshaw, reinforced flood mitigation structures along Exshaw Creek will cut debris flooding like that witnessed in the 2013 floods.

Officials say that with these projects, residents of these regions – along with businesses, local infrastructure, roadways and wildlife habitats – will be better protected against the risk of major flooding.

The federal government is providing up to $13 million towards the projects, while the Province is funding up to about $16 million.

Kim Schreiner, MLA for Red Deer North, said whether it’s flood barriers, erosion control, work along vulnerable riverbanks or upgrades to dam infrastructure, “These projects are at the heart of our efforts to help cities and towns adapt to a changing climate where severe weather events are more common.

“Water management infrastructure is critically important to so many communities in Alberta, including Red Deer.

“Improvements will be made to the outlet works of both dams to ensure they can safely handle higher capacities during flood conditions,” she said.

Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Francois-Philippe Champagne said that when municipal, provincial and federal governments work well together, that’s simply what people expect to see.

“Infrastructure projects are on the way, and are making a difference in communities large and small and in rural and urban areas,” he said.

“The effects of these extreme weather events don’t go away overnight. It takes time to rebuild, and over the long-term, repairing damaged infrastructure can take a major economic and social toll on our communities,” he said, adding that the Dickson Dam upgrades will see the site able to disburse a greater amount of water and reduce the risk of flooding downstream.

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