M.D. Invests in Infrastructure and Recreation
As we begin to see the beginning of the end of this extraordinary overland flooding event as an organization we wish to extend our gratitude and thanks to the following:
The staff of the Municipal District of Taber. Over the past 35 days we have witnessed your dedication and commitment to the organization and to the citizens we serve. At all levels and in all positions you have demonstrated this. From the pre-planning, the 20 hour days and the seven day a week commitment you made us all proud.
To our partners at the three irrigation districts; the Taber Irrigation District, the St Mary River Irrigation District and the Bow River Irrigation District thank you for your commitment and dedication as we worked together to move the millions of cubic metres of water that fell upon us.
A special thank you to Alberta Environment and Parks staff and Alberta Emergency Management staff that assisted with undertaking the regulatory processes that needed to be completed in such timely fashion.
A huge thank you the six fire stations of our MD of Taber Regional Fire Service and our community Peace Officers for answering 31 public assistance calls during the flood; from water rescue to barricade placement and wellness checks to traffic control. The value of our regional fire service is beyond question.
Thank you to all of our partner agencies including the school divisions and First Student, the RCMP, Alberta Health, FCSS, Samaritans Purse, Red Cross (Lethbridge), Taber Heritage Inn for hosting our evacuees, Alberta Transportation and Volker Stevin.
During the 35 days that our Emergency Operations Center operated during this flooding event we had many organizations participate in our daily (and for three weeks – twice daily) briefings. These partner agencies included the Alberta Emergency Management Agency, the Town of Vauxhall, the Village of Barnwell, the Town of Taber, Cypress County, County of 40 Mile, Provincial Emergency Social Services, Canadian Natural Resources, Utility companies and others. We thank each of them for their participation and assistance as we mitigated this emergency event.
To our citizens we thank you for your patience.
Finally – to the Council I thank you for your unwavering support during the dire hours of the flooding event and for your dedication now in seeking to bring awareness to Provincial Authorities and Agencies of this event and the impact it has had on so many.
Water continues to flow and pumps continue to run dealing with the water but we shall endure.
The work has just begun on restoring our transportation network and we have begun reviewing the 424 sites we have identified where damage has occurred - we are sure our staff will bring the same level of commitment in addressing these issues as they did the past 35 days.
As a Council we will be reviewing the recommendations being brought forward on repairs to infrastructure as well as to improvements that can be made. I have heard the past month that all we need is bigger culverts – well that is not the case. The culverts couldn’t be large enough to deal with this event, and we have to remember that we are all uphill from someone – speeding up the water will only make matters worse downstream for neighbors. Examining the capacity at the outlet is how drainage is designed – our process will include a review of these outlets and their capacity.
Our state of local emergency will continue until our emergency pumping operations have ceased and we are satisfied that our road network has been reasonably restored.
As the work on evaluating this event continues we will be bringing to the attention of the Province of Alberta the recommendations from the Southern Regional Stormwater Management Plan. Foremost these is the recommendation of the creation of a spillway to the Oldman River that would take not only the flow from the SMRID main canal but also the excess water created within the Taber Irrigation District and other areas in the MD of Taber which currently have nowhere to flow – except within existing irrigation district infrastructure. It is our hope to revisit this plan with the Province.