Phase 2 of the Downtown Dike flood mitigation project has been put on hold by Drumheller Town Council following a heated public hearing for the proposed closure of Riverside Drive on Tuesday, April 19.
Several Drumheller and area residents attended the meeting in-person and submitted written correspondence ahead of the public hearing, with the majority of letters and testimonies opposing the proposed closure.
“The purpose of a public hearing is for the Town and Council to gather feedback from the community on different projects,” Drumheller Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Darryl Drohomerski told the Mail. “We were happy to see so much engagement on the issue.”
Due to land constraints between the Red Deer River and Riverside Drive, along with increased provincial flood design flow rates, it was recommended a two-block section of Riverside Drive be closed between 3 Avenue and 5 Avenue.
There has been significant public opposition since the announcement of the proposed closure; a traffic impact survey conducted between December 2021 and January 2022 found 86 per cent of respondents expressed concerns regarding potential traffic impacts the road closure would create.
Some 25 people attended the April 19 public hearing in-person, with nine people registered to speak during the meeting. Council and administration also received 19 letters from area residents about the closure-of those correspondences, one was in favour of the closure while the remaining 18 were opposed.
At this time there is no timeline on how long the project will be paused, though Mr. Drohomerski says he expects this process will take “a month or more” before any alternate designs will return to council for consideration.