Little threat of flooding from Sturgeon
Rainfall poses greater risk to property owners in older neighbourhoods
By: By Peter Boer
| Posted: Saturday, Aug 24, 2013 06:00 am
Older neighbourhoods in St. Albert are at greater risk of damage from overland flooding after a severe storm as opposed to a flood as was experienced in southern Alberta this summer, a committee of council heard Thursday.
The disaster services committee held its annual meeting, during which it discussed the city’s risk of floods, like those that ravaged Calgary, High River and Medicine Hat back in June.
St. Albert, said Chris Jardine, the general manager of community and protective services, is at a very low risk of flooding from the Sturgeon River. There are only nine known structures, such as the River House Grill and Chateau Mission Court, that lie within the city’s one-in-100-year flood plain.
“The risk of that type of flood is very low here,” said Jardine. “The risk is actually low because of the rate of flow in the Sturgeon. We have a lot of advance warning if there is going to be rain and we can take measures, if necessary.”
The flood plain was last looked at and adjusted in 2011. The city is now working to identify what privately-owned infrastructure is located in the flood plain.
The greater threat, said Jardine, is overland flooding from rainfall, as the city experienced back in June 2008 when an enormous storm dropped 10 centimetres of water on the Perron District in a matter of minutes, flooding streets and businesses.
Older neighbourhoods such as Mission and the Perron District are at risk of that flooding because of their older stormwater infrastructure.
“We know we have an area,” said Jardine. “We have programs in place where we can respond.”
The city will take a closer look at what it can do to mitigate that overland flood risk as it develops its utility master plan. The plan is scheduled for completion in early 2014. David Hales, general manager of planning and engineering, said those older neighbourhoods can be retrofitted to reduce the chance of overland flooding, but that doing so will cost money.
“It can be done, but there’s a cost involved to intercept (the water) and have somewhere to take it,” Hales said.
City manager Patrick Draper suggested an open house might be a good way to tell residents about the risks to their properties, as well as how new provincial guidelines announced last month will impact them.
The province announced in July any new development within a one-in-100-year flood plain will not qualify for disaster relief in the event of a flood.
“There might be quite a few residents in the city that might be interested,” Draper said.
Mayor Nolan Crouse guessed any such open house would be held later in the year, after the October municipal election.