At the St. Albert city council meeting of Nov. 20, 2017 it was asked, “What/Where is the Sturgeon River Valley?” I would like to give my opinion as to where it ought to be and perhaps why it is hard to identify.
A long time ago in St Albert people who lived here could obtain a “river lot.” Riverlot #56 still exists and is accessible for a number of activities. I guess we would classify it in our day as “parkland.” The owner of a river lot had access to a narrow stretch of the river, the flood plain and in some cases up to a mile behind him while facing the river. He needed that piece of land/river in order to travel where he wanted to go. There were no roads. Eventually roads came to St Albert and with it a different lot system. I believe that greater Braeside used to be River Lots 46 & 47.
The river and its flood plain has always attracted those who choose to settle anywhere. The problem comes when and for whatever reason Mother Nature comes along and punishes us for living too close to the river or on its flood plain. Recently in 2013 Southern Alberta and especially the Calgary area were victims of an above average rainfall with devastating results. In an article entitled: “2013 Alberta’s flood of floods” it states the cost in damages were about $6 billion, 100,000 Albertans were displaced, and the rate at which the river sped through High River was faster than that over Niagara Falls.
I believe that it was the intention of our forefathers that the land between Bellerose Drive and Sturgeon Road was meant to be flood plain. Lots of people might say that the average flood levels in the past have only buried some of Red Willow Trail but no more. Flood plains are inhabited all over the world but they are nothing more than an accident waiting to happen. How would we handle what Houston, Texas had to deal with? How would St. Albert handle a rainfall of 52 inches in a few days?
Brian White, St. Albert