By Adam R. MacDonald
Sparwood Council have approved the signing of a contract that would provide funding for a flood protection program along the Elk River.
The Flood Protection Program Transfer Agreement will accept $11,000 in financial assistance from the provincial government to be used to prevent floodwaters from eroding through the flood plain along Matevic Road, and from undermining the integrity of the new bridge abutment.
The area had been previously armoured with rock riprap and was further stabilized when the pedestrian bridge was built. However, the erosion extends approximately 50 metres up-stream of the current armouring, with the most active erosion occurring closer to the bridge, so more stabilization is needed. Geotechnical engineers, who surveyed the site in 2010, concluded that the erosion affecting the north-west side of the river is being caused by floodwaters entering the Elk River from Michel Creek.
Last month, Council declined a Federal Infrastructure Grant—that was to provide the same amount of funds, but that would have included both a federal and a provincial portion—in favour of this grant, which is solely provided by the provincial government. On the declined grant, Danny Dwyer, Director of Planning & Engineering Services, said: “It triggered an environmental assessment under the federal program, which would have more than doubled the cost of the project.”
There are several solutions to further prevent erosion of the bank, and one of the next steps in this program will be to decide upon which means of armouring will have the best benefit and least environmental impact.