July MLA Report

climate change

Flood resiliency is an important issue in many communities across Alberta, and I know that it is a top priority here in Canmore, as well. Canmore town council has taken a leadership role on flood mitigation and I have worked closely with them to achieve their objectives. The Town has made tremendous progress on key flood mitigation projects, including the erosion control work on the Bow River and the reinforcement of the creek bed and banks of Cougar Creek.

Alberta is making progress to improve the flood resiliency of communities across the province. Whether it’s flood barriers, erosion control spurs along the riverbank, or investments in municipal water management infrastructure, community-level mitigation projects are at the heart of our efforts to help cities and towns adapt to a changing climate where severe weather events are more common. These on-the-ground projects are so valuable because they are close to where Albertans live and work. During a flood, they help ensure people are safe, critical infrastructure is protected, and businesses continue to operate without interruption.

Climate change makes the challenge posed by severe weather even greater. As storms increase in both frequency and intensity, communities across the province will have their resiliency tested. It’s a challenge we can meet with careful planning and stable, long-term funding from our government through the Alberta Community Resilience Program.

In late May, I was happy to announce the approval of a $10.3 million Alberta Community Resilience Program grant to the Town of Canmore to address the risks posed by debris floods along Cougar Creek. This funding will go towards the construction of a debris dam at the apex of Cougar Creek that will protect homes, businesses and the TransCanada Highway. This 100-metre-wide structure will help ensure public safety by holding back dangerous landslide debris and keeping evacuation routes clear during severe weather events.

The province has previously has contributed $20,350,000 to this important project. This is in addition to the $6.2 million the province invested in the armouring of Cougar Creek, the short-term mitigation project which is now complete. We must also thank our federal partners, whose contribution this fall of more than $14 million towards the Cougar Creek debris dam demonstrated their commitment to this community and our province.

This commitment is part of a larger, concerted effort on the part of the province and its municipal partners to improve flood resiliency in communities big and small, province-wide. With funding from the Alberta government, communities across our province are putting resiliency measures in place to help them adapt to a changing climate where extreme weather events are more common and more severe.

To date, the Alberta government has invested more than $160 million through the Alberta Community Resilience Program in community-level flood mitigation projects across the province. And with stable, long-term funding in place for the Alberta Community Resilience Program, these investments in community-level flood resiliency projects will continue.

Cam Westhead
MLA for Banff-Cochrane