A project to mitigate flooding concerns that’s been in the works for 12 years is now officially underway.
The Horsefly Regional Emergency Spillway project addresses overland flooding and stormwater runoff problems impacting a number of regions in southern Alberta.
Municipal District of Taber Reeve Merrill Harris saw extensive flooding in 2018.
“I think there was probably about 12 residents that had to get rescued out of their homes one night as the flood waters were swirling around their homes,” Harris said.
“We worked through to get some funding from the provincial and federal governments, as well as our municipal partners, to get this funded. This phase one is the first of three phases for Horsefly Emergency Spillway,” added Harris.
The project partners are made up of the towns of Coaldale, Taber, and Bow Island, the Village of Barnwell, the City of Medicine Hat, the counties of Lethbridge, 40 Mile, and Cypress and the St. Mary River and Taber Irrigation Districts. The M.D. of Taber is the managing partner.
“The price of these projects is growing and growing, and becoming quite astronomical to be quite frank. We need to work together, we need to share that burden, and I hope this is just the mold of how we move forward and complete more projects like this,” added Lethbridge County Reeve Tory Campbell.
Phase one was estimated at $22.1 million dollars, but it’s already over budget.
“The actual cost is about $25 million. The three phases was estimated at about $47.7 million, and with inflation and everything its more than that now.
“This phase came in at about $5 million more than we were expecting,” said Harris. He added now work is underway to secure that additional funding.
The Horsefly Emergency Spillway is just one of seven projects laid out in the Southern Regional Stormwater Management Plan. Phase one of this project is set to wrap up the summer of 2024.