The M.D. of Bonnyville has approved a new drainage map in response to persistent rain and flooding issues the municipality has faced in the last few years.
“The wetlands are ever increasing, and when you go look at historical pictures taken in the 50s, you’ll see that a lot of these areas did look how they do now,” said Reeve Greg Sawchuk on The Morning After.
“It just seems to be the point in the cycle we’re at.”
In their discussion last week, M.D. councillors requested a priority list to help identify key areas where water is a serious problem.
Royghly $7 million was set aside to address drainage issues in Birch Grove, Elk Haven, Hillside, Willow Ridge, County Side, Country Lane, Sunset Beach, Drouin, Crawford Estates and Crane Lake subdivisions in the 2020 budget.
“We’ve got a number of items that are with Alberta Environment right now, and any time you’re doing something with water you need their approval, but some of these are not going to be an easy fix,” said Sawchuk.
“A top priority is people’s homes, followed by municipal infrastructure. When those two things are at risk, they rise in priority.
“A lot of things are already in progress.”
A prime example of recent infrastructural issues is Lessard Bridge, which had closed in June due to issues with heavy rain, but has since been reopened.
According to the request for decision presented to council, the M.D’s operating budget will have funds available to help pay for drainage improvements, ditch cleaning, beaver control, and other issues that play a part in the flooding issues.
A map has since materialized to help councillors understand the different flooding issues, including issues currently being addressed by the M.D’s utilities department, drainage ditches currently in use, flooded roads–which are currently not a priority–and agricultural flooding issues.
Ongoing maintenance zones affected by beaver activity will be handled by the the AG department.