POLITICS

Fighting the worst of Mother Nature. Alberta funds flood prevention projects.

04/02/2015 12:39 EDT | Updated 06/02/2015 05:59 EDT
CALGARY - The Alberta government is giving cash to 16 municipalities to prevent flooding and deal with future droughts.

Most of the grants will go to municipalities hit hard by the 2013 floods in southern Alberta.

They include Calgary, High River, Nanton and the municipal districts of Bighorn, Pincher Creek and Foothills and other communities believed to be at risk of future flooding.

About 120,000 people were affected after 350 mm of rain fell over two days in late June of 2013. The deluge and swollen rivers wiped out roads and bridges and swamped streets, homes, and vehicles.

"It's been a long road to recovery and a flood of this magnitude is one that Albertans will never forget," Environment Minister Kyle Fawcett said Thursday.

"Out of the devastation and destruction Alberta's municipal and provincial governments have learned and together are putting measures in place to better protect the life and property of Albertans from future flooding."

The money is to be used to build flood barriers, upgrade water management infrastructure and help reduce riverbank erosion.

The government plans to spend $70 million in the first year of a $500 million program to be spread out over the next 10 years.

Calgary received approvals for four projects including elevated hoists for the Glenmore Dam, lower deck flood barrier improvements for the Centre Street Bridge, a permanent flood barrier along Heritage Drive SE and flood gates for priority stormwater outfalls.

"Today's announcement is a welcome step forward in flood mitigation for the people of Calgary," Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said.

"We need a comprehensive approach to both local and upstream flood mitigation measures."

Municipalities that didn't receive money in the first round may be funded at a later date.

"We're not going to be able to do everything today," Fawcett said.

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