The Drumheller Resiliency and Flood Mitigation Office held a virtual information session the evening of Thursday, March 10 to discuss planned flood mitigation work for North Drumheller.
Project director Deighen Blakely and project manager Dirk Scharbatke provided attendees with information on the upcoming North Drumheller flood mitigation work, along with an update on other ongoing work.
Drumheller council awarded Sweet Tech Engineering as the project’s Environmental Management firm during the regular Monday, March 7 council meeting to engage and support regulatory approvals at various levels of government.
Currently, the program is in the process of obtaining approvals from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, along with Alberta Transportation, for ongoing planned in-stream work. Indigenous consultations are also planned for this ongoing work.
Ms. Blakely noted the spring tree clearing project will be moving ahead with work expected to begin the week of March 14 as this work needs to be completed ahead of two approaching deadlines. To mitigate the spread of Dutch Elm Disease, elm trees must be cleared prior to March 31; the migratory bird nesting season will also begin in April, and work must be completed ahead of this to avoid disturbing nests.
Biologists will complete sweeps of the areas scheduled for clearing in Centennial Park, Midland and Newcastle to assess for any owl or bird nests, animal dens, or other sensitive wildlife ahead of removal. Trees will also be assessed for health and those rated good to fair will be replaced at a ratio of five shrubs, trees, or other vegetation for each tree removed.
The program is currently in the process of acquiring some 340,000 cubic metres of clay material required to complete the project; Ms. Blakely explained this amount of material would fill the pool at the Drumheller Aquaplex some 450 times.
An expression of interest was posted in early February on the Town of Drumheller website and ongoing geotechnical investigations are being conducted on a potential source from the nearby construction of a speedway and motocross site.
Project manager Dirk Scharbatke, who has over 25 years of experience in the operation and maintenance of water infrastructure and has been involved in the design and construction of water-related projects, also provided a presentation on the Michichi Creek and Grove Plaza dikes.
The two dikes will be constructed along the north bank of the Red Deer River, with the Michichi Creek dike extending from Michichi Creek to the west side of the Gordon Taylor Bridge; the Grove Plaza dike will tie into the Gordon Taylor bridge and extend downstream, behind the Grove Plaza strip mall and hotel.
Mr. Scharbatke explained they will be using the existing dike to build to the 1,850 cubic metres per second flow rate and freeboard. He added a paved pathway under the Gordon Taylor Bridge will be repaved once construction of the berm is complete, with the remaining pathway returned to gravel to allow construction and maintenance.
The Grove Plaza dike will require a small retaining wall, which will be a maximum of 1.5 metres (approximately five feet) tall, in order to maintain an existing pathway behind the strip mall for maintenance and operations, as well as garbage collection.
Similar to the Michichi Creek dike, the paved pathways connecting under the Gordon Taylor Bridge will be repaved with the remaining pathways and the dike surface to be gravelled. However, due to funding limitations and the location--particularly of the Michichi Creek dike near a campground and private residences, new pathways will not be part of the proposed construction.
Due to regulatory processes connected to in-stream work, where possible, the work will be carried out outside of the Red Deer River.
Mr. Scharbatke explained assessments on tree health and Historic Resources Impact Assessments will be carried out in May 2022; trees impacting construction are slated for removal in August 2022 with bird nest and wildlife surveys expected ahead of removal to limit disturbing wildlife in this area.
Construction on these projects is expected to begin in September 2022, with anticipated completion by the end of December 2022.
Future community information sessions are scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 16 to discuss the Traffic Impact Assessment for Riverside Drive and Thursday, March 31 to discuss the Willow Estates dike.