Officials gathered on Friday to celebrate more than $3 million in government money that will fund Phase 2B of Coaldale’s Malloy Drain Project.
The infrastructure project in Coaldale is one of eight receiving funding totaling more than $107.5 million, as approved through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP).
The Town of Coaldale, Lethbridge County and St. Mary River Irrigation District (SMRID) are the three stakeholders contributing a combined $825,436 to the project, while the federal government has committed more than $1.2 million and the province has added another million.
Southern Alberta has been hit by overland flooding in the past, and the project is intended to mitigate the future damage of storms in the area.
“This was one of the eight projects that we looked at, and the reason why is in 2017 there was some overland flooding that happened,” said Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter. “It was because of the amazing work of the SMRID that we did not have a major catastrophe in this area.”
According to the province, the plan will re-purpose abandoned raw water reservoirs into storm water storage. It will also support the construction of a new wetland with a forebay, and a new bioswale (a type of storm water runoff conveyance system) with a pump station to direct storm water from the south wetland into the reservoir.
“Right now, with all the preceding work of the Malloy Drain, we’ve been able to really enhance our ability to deal a lot with the stormwater events,” said Coaldale Mayor Kim Craig.
“You know, knock on wood, we don’t have anything too surprising in the future that makes a fibber out of me, but I think we’re well prepared,” he said.
Hunter says the project also protects valuable land in an area the province hopes will continue to grow into the agri-food corridor of Canada.
“You’ve got to realize that we have 70 per cent of Canada’s irrigation land, right here in southern Alberta, and that there is a great value to that irrigation land,” Hunter said.
“Not only to towns and cities and communities within this area, but the irrigation land itself.”
Officials with the Town of Coaldale say design will take place once land is secured next year, and construction will begin in 2022.