Portions of the flood mitigation projects to protect the valley will need to be built on what is currently private land, and the Flood Mitigation and adaptation office have begun the process of acquiring property.
Earlier this year Drumheller Town Council passed a policy to direct land acquisition for flood mitigation, and the town-owned Drumheller land Corporation will be making the purchases. Acquisition could mean complete buyout or right of way to build protective measures.
Scott Land and Lease were selected through a competitive bid process to act as the agent for the program. Chief resiliency and flood mitigation officer Darwin Durnie said the negotiations with landowners have begun in affected areas.
“We have started making offers on land,” said Durnie.
According to the process, phase one of land acquisition will focus on properties that are in the floodway where no engineered solution can be reasonably implemented to protect the property. Appraisals began in July.
The second phase of the process will be for land that is required for improvements or installation of dikes or other structural measures. Because they are still working on detailed designs of what improvements will be required, as these plans are rolled out, landowners affected will be contacted.
“There will be circumstances where we will go across private land, and we are just going to protect the buildings, they (landowners) can use the land that is still on the other side of the dike (for some purposes),” said Durnie.
Funding for acquisition comes from both the provincial and federal grant funding.
He explains the purchase price for the land will be based on an appraisal that will be provided by the Town of Drumheller. If a further appraisal is requested, this will be at the landowner’’ expense. Durnie says under no circumstance will they go below the 2014 appraised assessment.
He notes the Red Deer River is a great asset to the community, and many of these mitigation projects will create new spaces to enjoy the river and the valley. However, the priority is to protect the valley when the river is not an asset but a threat.
“We are spending public money to build a public protection system that makes certain we preserve the value of all properties in Drumheller,” he said.
A detailed description of the process is available at https://floodreadiness.drumheller.ca/land-aquisition-process/