The Town of Drumheller stands by and fully supports the Drumheller Resiliency and Flood Mitigation Office (DRFMO) in regard to the selected flood solution that will keep everyone in the community of Lehigh safe.
Engineers working on the Lehigh flood mitigation project conducted a Comprehensive Flood Mitigation Analysis Study where they examined several measures to mitigate overland flood damage to people and property in Lehigh. The mitigation measures examined include conveyance improvements, a permanent berm, a temporary berm or barriers, and raising residences.
“Previous Council asked the flood team to go back and look at every possibility; they have come to the same conclusion as previous studies. The well-being of Lehigh residents is important to us and within the constraints of the Provincial funding program we are working hard to find resolution for everyone,” says Drumheller Mayor Heather Colberg.
Due to regulatory approvals, potential adverse impacts to aquatic habitat, permeable ground conditions, constraints of temporary mitigation efforts, and lack of funding, these mitigation measures have been deemed unfeasible by the engineering team. Previous engineering teams working on flood mitigation solutions for Lehigh have come to the same conclusion.
It is important to note Lehigh property buyouts will be undertaken based on appraised value.
Furthermore, with the updates to the Disaster Recovery Program (DRP), flood recovery funding is only available for flood events exceeding the 1 in 100 return period flood which the Province has set at 1,850 cms for the Red Deer River in Drumheller. The floods of 2005 and 2013 were 1,450 cms and 1,270 cms respectively, so if floods of this magnitude were to occur again, there would be no DRP funding available to property owners.
“There have been a number of studies for Lehigh, going back at least to the 1980s, and all indicate the same thing, that is, flood mitigation in Lehigh would not protect properties from flooding,” says the Town of Drumheller Chief Administrative Officer Darryl Drohomerski. “There were meetings in 2015 with the Province, Town, Stantec Engineering, and Lehigh residents to discuss buyouts, and why other mitigation measures weren’t practical. There have been letters from the previous Drumheller Mayor going back to 2015 indicating buyouts were the only mitigation measure for Lehigh residents.”
A copy of the final Lehigh Comprehensive Flood Mitigation Analysis Study report will be available in the coming weeks on the Flood Readiness Website at https://floodreadiness.drumheller.ca/be-informed/resources/drumheller-resiliency-and-flood-mitigation-office.