Sundre riverbank project wraps up
After three months of construction, the $2.4-million riverbank stabilization project along the Red Deer River in Sundre has wrapped up and officials say the new work should help better protect residents and property from flooding danger.
Financed through a grant from the provincial government, the project included the construction of six massive spurs, which are jetties built about 30 to 40 metres out from the riverbank.
In all, 13,000 tonnes of granite boulders and other rocks were used in the construction of the spurs. Work on the actual construction on the spurs began in March, with planning going back to last summer.
The project was undertaken to prevent the river from causing further erosion to the west bank, erosion that has been ongoing since the river course was altered during massive flooding in 2005.
Had the work not been undertaken, the erosion could have resulted in the loss of significant infrastructure at the Riverside RV Park and other facilities in town.
Crews placed the last rocks on the spurs last week, with engineers, town officials and others then conducting final inspections.
Sundre Mayor Annette Clews called it a “relief” to have the flood protection spurs now in place, especially with the annual spring runoff from the West Country about to get underway.
“I feel more comfortable with the spring runoff starting,” said Clews. “Having the riverbank protected and having the town better protected from flooding is a good thing.”
She commended the many people involved in bringing the project to fruition.
Downer Construction of Canmore delivered the Class 3 rip-rock boulders for the project from a quarry in Exshaw. The company also constructed the spurs.
Dave Halwa, with Stantec Consulting, was one of those overseeing the project over the past three months. He said he is confident the spurs will do what they are meant to do – prevent further erosion of the riverbank and, in turn, reduce the flooding risk to the town of Sundre.
“It will work,” said Halwa. “I’ve seen many projects like this and this one looks good.”
Ron Baker, the Town of Sundre’s director of operations, echoed Halwa’s comments, saying the finished product looks good.
“It is redirecting the water as it’s supposed to,” said Baker.
He says the project has come in on budget – thanks, he says, to great cooperation among the parties involved.
“This is a major accomplishment to have this done already,” he said. “We got the money (the $2.4 million from the province) last July and we have it in place by now. It showed major cooperation between the Department of Oceans and Fisheries, Alberta Environment and the Town of Sundre.”
Reclamation of the construction site should be completed this week, he said.
“I’ve saved some money to do final touch-ups in there,” he said.
The riverbank stabilization project was prompted, in part, by the efforts of the Save-Our-Sundre (SOS) Chamber of Commerce committee, which was formed after the 2005 flooding damaged property across the region, including in Sundre.
The SOS committee held a large public rally shortly after the 2005 flooding to call for action, and later lobbied government departments to provided funding.
Committee chairman Jim Eklund said he is very pleased all the work by the committee and others has finally paid off.
“I’m happy to see it done,” said Eklund. “To protect the museum, to protect private property, to protect the town, that was the whole goal.
“I’ve learned a lot about dealing with red tape and political protocol and knowing that voices do count if you do stand up and fight for it.”
With the completion of the stabilization project the SOS committee has now disbanded.