November’s MLA Report

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Cameron Westhead MLA Banff-Cochrane
Cameron Westhead
MLA Banff-Cochrane

More than three years after the devastating 2013 floods, flood mitigation projects continue to be near the top of the priority list for many of Alberta’s municipal, provincial, and federal leaders. It certainly remains at the top of my priority list, because I know that communities in the constituency of Banff-Cochrane were among those most affected.

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 becoming more common.

These on-the-ground projects are so valuable because they are close to where Albertans live and work. During a flood situation, they help ensure people are safe, critical infrastructure is protected, and businesses continue to operate without interruption.

The federal funding announced on October 13 by the federal Minister of Infrastructure Mr. Amarjeet Sohi underscores the importance of all three levels of government investing in community flood resiliency. The three projects receiving federal grants highlight the need for continued investment and the challenge of building flood resiliency throughout Alberta’s diverse landscape.

The federal grants, combined with provincial funding already in place for these projects, will help mitigate the risk of a debris flood along Cougar Creek. The federal funding builds on more than $20 million in provincial funding already in place for the debris retention structure for Cougar Creek.

The province has contributed $20,350,000 to the Cougar Creek long-term flood mitigation project in Canmore. This is comprised of a $19 million grant through the Flood Recovery Erosion Control program, with the remaining funds coming from Alberta Transportation. These funds are in addition to the $6.2 million the province invested in the armouring of Cougar Creek, a short-term mitigation project which is now complete.

These commitments are part of a larger, concerted effort on the part of the province and its municipal and federal partners to improve flood resiliency in communities big and small, province-wide.

Overall to date, the Alberta government has invested more than $100 million through the Alberta Community Resilience Program and more than $200 million through the Flood Recovery Erosion Control program for community-level flood mitigation projects across the province. With stable, long-term funding in place for the Alberta Community Resilience Program, these investments in community-level flood resiliency projects will continue.

As a resident of Bragg Creek, I have a personal understanding of the impact the 2013 floods had on affected communities. I was inspired by seeing the strength and courage of our communities where complete strangers rolled up their sleeves to help one another. Albertans are strong and resilient, as natural disasters have shown us all too frequently recently. I remain committed to working together with our municipal and federal leaders to ensure communities are protected from future flood events.

Sincerely,

Cameron Westhead

MLA for Banff-Cochrane