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June 6 Project Update: Council Votes in Favour of Berm Design Optimization to Reduce Project Costs

Posted on Jun. 7 2022

DRUMHELLER, AB – (June 7, 2022) – As part of the Drumheller Resiliency and Flood Mitigation Office’s commitment to transparency and keeping residents informed on project progress, the following update provided to Mayor and Council on Monday, June 6, 2022, is being shared with the public.


Berm Design Optimization:

In response to construction cost escalations, the DRFMO recommended Council adopt a reduced minimum standard berm design top width (4 m) and freeboard (0.5 m) as a key design optimization and cost saving measure. Council voted in favour of this decision. Preliminary analysis on selected berms has indicated a 5-10% cost savings on overall project costs with the berm cross section reduction.

Moving forward, the DRFMO will be optimizing designs to fit the current budget in the event additional Government funding is not provided.

Construction on Newcastle, Midland, Willow Estates, and North Drumheller Grove Plaza dikes are still scheduled to begin this year.


Funding and Lobbying Updates:

To offset the funding gap, Mayor Heather Colberg and Town of Drumheller CAO, Darryl Drohomerski met with Provincial funding partners on May 25 to request additional funding. Conversations are ongoing.

The DRFMO had also applied for additional funding from the Federal Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund in the fall 2021 intake, which has been communicated to the public at past open houses.

Ongoing lobbying efforts will continue and will address:

  • Unfunded dikes
  • Increased project costs


General Project Updates:

  • Tree Removal for Midland, Newcastle and the Downtown Dike have been completed.
    • A landscape plan has been developed to restore the ecological health of the area.
    • Trees in good or fair health will be replaced at a ratio of 5:1 – 5 replacements for every 1 removal.
    • Biologists conducted sweeps of the areas for owl nests, animal dens, and other sensitive wildlife before the tree removal.
  • Construction Tenders will be released mid- to late June.
  • Construction information will be posted on the DRFMO website in the coming weeks.
  • Project Optimization is currently proceeding and will be completed prior to any further landowner 1:1 meetings being undertaken.


Budget Updates:

Team members applied to the Provincial Government in 2017 and Federal Government in 2018 for flood mitigation funding with a very high-level project proposal. Funding based on this request was approved for $55M.

Several factors have contributed to an increased budget, including:

  • Key project components not initially budgeted for in the original funding request.
    • Communications, surveying, hydraulic modeling, environmental monitoring, and landscape architects.
  • The Provincial Design Flood Change from 1640cms to 1850cms resulted in the need for:
    • More Material
    • Adjusted Designs
    • Larger Construction Costs
  • Recent Dramatic Increases in Construction Costs
    • Inflation
    • Material
    • Shipping
    • Fuel
    • Labour

For more information, please contact the Resiliency and Flood Mitigation Office at:
(403) 823-4878

About the Resiliency and Flood Mitigation Office
The purpose of this office is to protect the people and property in Drumheller from loss due to flooding through a sensible model for a small community to adapt to the perils of changing climate. The Resiliency and Flood Mitigation Office will manage the Flood Mitigation and Climate Adaptation System through to its completion in 2024. To learn more, visit

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