Community Input

Drumheller Resiliency & Flood Mitigation - Community Input

The Drumheller Resiliency & Flood Mitigation Office (DRFMO) will be posting community input and the actions taken by the DRFMO based on input received on this page.

The DRFMO takes citizen input seriously and looks to use the input where ever we can, including but not limited to the list below. As we move towards construction, we look forward to more one-on-one interactions with impacted citizens to hear their concerns and do our best to mitigate them.

If you have any questions, email floodreadiness@drumheller.ca or contact the Drumheller Resiliency & Flood Mitigation Office directly here.

Downtown Berm "What We've Heard & How We're Responding" Report

WHAT WE HEARD

 

Community Input

  • Residents expressed that option #2 for the retaining wall (ledge stone brown) was the favourite retaining wall material choice by far as the natural brown matches the surrounding area.
  • Residents noted that access to the berm along Riverside Drive is important.  Residents would like to see access at the 3rd avenue location, but if not, as close as possible to where the retaining wall is going.
  • Residents are disappointed about possibly losing the 3rd avenue access to/from Riverside Drive.
  • Residents would like the sidewalk on the west side to remain.  
  • Residents noted that they would like access to the river.
  • Residents living close to the Riverside Drive section in question were disappointed that the road is not being closed to accommodate berm construction.
  • Residents are wondering what parking will look like around the ball diamond.
  • Some residents are happy about the road staying open.
  • Residents are concerned about sound mitigation regarding traffic noise bouncing off the retaining wall.
  • Residents were concerned with speed along Riverside Drive and would like to see measures taken to reduce speed.

 

November 17th Community Engagement Event Feedback

The Community Engagement Event received a lot of positive feedback from residents in attendance. Specifically, residents appreciated that they could drop in, gather the information pertinent to them, and move on with their evenings. The event saw the largest turnout yet, with approximately 80 residents attending during the two-hour duration.

Some constructive feedback was also given. Residents noted that the berm alignment drawings were too small to read. Additionally, residents expressed their interest in being able to take home handouts at future Community Engagement Events.

 

 

HOW WE’RE RESPONDING

 

Drumheller Resiliency & Flood Mitigation Office’s Actions

Community and public engagement have been a large focal point for the Drumheller Resiliency & Flood Mitigation Office (Flood Office) during the development and implementation of the Flood Mitigation Project. Input received from the community is thoroughly considered by the Flood Office when making decisions related to flood mitigation protection for the Town of Drumheller.

Based on the input received for the Downtown Berm Project, the Flood Office is taking the following action:

  • Option #2 for the retaining wall (ledge stone brown) will be specified as the required texture and colour in SweetTech’s tender drawings and specifications.
  • SweetTech will be investigating the possibilities of providing an access point at the 3rd avenue crosswalk.  If it is unachievable due to spatial constraints at this location, SweetTech will be providing access at either end of the retaining wall (at least one access will be required for maintenance regardless).
  • The sidewalk on the west side of Riverside Drive is to remain.
  • SweetTech will be looking at the feasibility of providing access to the river for outfall maintenance which will also be considered for public access. The Flood Office and the Town of Drumheller will confirm if public access to the river can be facilitated in this location.
  • The Flood Office and the Town of Drumheller will review parking requirements at the ball diamond to determine if there are additional parking spaces needed in the area.
  • As it pertains to sound mitigation, unfortunately, there is not much that can be done to mitigate reflection of noise. However, the difference in noise related issues between an earthen berm and a retaining wall are expected to be minimal. 

Landscaping "What We've Heard & How We're Responding" Report

WHAT WE HEARD

 

Community Input

  • Residents expressed their preference for native vegetation in the berm areas.
  • Residents were interested in more clarification on the 5:1 replacement strategy.
  • Residents expressed a general understanding for physical limitations in certain areas to “return” removed plant material and appreciated the replacement strategy of assessing removals/proposed planting by neighbourhood/local vicinity.
  • For the Hospital Berm Extension, a few requests from residents were noted. These residents confirmed that replacement trees on the residential side of the berm were desirable, but the specific locations and species of the new trees need to be “field fit” and verified with the resident on site prior to planting.
  • Residents were generally very happy with the Newcastle planting plan.
  • Residents made the following notes regarding the Newcastle planting plan:
    • Where there are clusters of Manitoba Maple, consider substituting balsam poplar (or plains cottonwood) for half of them. Consider adding chokecherry and river birch to the shrub mix for the area (currently none in the proposed plan). Recommend limiting Colorado Spruce, and using White Spruce instead (native, wildlife benefit).
    • ATV and snowmobile use are common in the area, which is likely to cause damage to the newly installed vegetation, particularly at the verges of the berm access points. Suggested mitigation measures include signage or snow fence until vegetation is well-established.
  • As it pertains to the East Coulee planting plan, residents made the following comments:
    • Large, mature cottonwoods are characteristic of the riparian forest in the area; some up to 14’ in diameter.
    • Some spruce in the area.
    • An important consideration is beaver protection. Currently, residents who back onto the river have added, and maintained, protection for the larger trees; who will take this on in the future, particularly for the buy-out properties?
    • Is the value of the trees assessed, and if so, how is that done?

 

 

November 17th Community Engagement Event Feedback

The Community Engagement Event received a lot of positive feedback from residents in attendance. Specifically, residents appreciated that they could drop in, gather the information pertinent to them, and move on with their evenings. The event saw the largest turnout yet, with approximately 80 residents throughout the two-hour duration.

Some constructive feedback was also given. Residents noted that the berm alignment drawings were too small to read. Additionally, residents expressed their interest in being able to take home handouts at future Community Engagement Events.

 

 

HOW WE’RE RESPONDING

 

Drumheller Resiliency & Flood Mitigation Office’s Actions

Community and public engagement have been a large focal point for the Drumheller Resiliency & Flood Mitigation Office (Flood Office) during the development and implementation of the Flood Mitigation Project. Input received from the community is thoroughly considered by the Flood Office when making decisions related to flood mitigation protection for the Town of Drumheller.

Based on the input received for the Landscaping, the Flood Office is taking the following action:

  • Beaver protection is incorporated into the tree planting design details. The contractor will maintain the trees and their protection during the warranty period. Furthermore, the Town already coordinates beaver strategies to minimize the damage to trees.
  • As for the assessment of tree value, the Flood Office will replace all trees in good or fair health at a 5:1 ratio on private land.
  • In addition, the Landscape team will take into consideration all suggestions for specific tree and shrub species when adjusting their revegetation plans.

Michichi Creek Berm "What We've Heard & How We're Responding" Report

WHAT WE HEARD

 

Community Input

  • In general, residents are okay with trees being removed. They also want to see grass on the berms.
  • Residents are wondering what is happening with existing irrigation systems and is the Flood Office putting new irrigation systems/sprinklers in.
  • Residents are wondering if the Flood office is okay with the berm being sloped at a 4:1 ratio. Residents understand that it means that more of their property will be purchased by the Town, but it makes mowing much easier.
  • Residents want to know how culverts are managed during flood events when the backflow preventers are closed and it rains, therefore the swales are draining water towards the river. Does the Town have pumps to pump out the swales upstream of the culverts?
  • Residents are wondering who is responsible for the maintenance of the berm.
  • Residents noted that a proposed new senior centre on Michichi Drive may seal more surface and increase the stormwater runoff. 

 

November 17th Community Engagement Event Feedback

The Community Engagement Event received a lot of positive feedback from residents in attendance. Specifically, residents appreciated that they could drop in, gather the information pertinent to them, and move on with their evenings. The event saw the largest turnout yet, with approximately 80 residents throughout the two-hour duration.

Some constructive feedback was also given. Residents noted that the berm alignment drawings were too small to read. Additionally, residents expressed their interest in being able to take home handouts at future Community Engagement Events.

 

 

HOW WE’RE RESPONDING

 

Drumheller Resiliency & Flood Mitigation Office’s Actions

Community and public engagement have been a large focal point for the Drumheller Resiliency & Flood Mitigation Office (Flood Office) during the development and implementation of the Flood Mitigation Project. Input received from the community is thoroughly considered by the Flood Office when making decisions related to flood mitigation protection for the Town of Drumheller.

Based on the input received for the Michichi Creek Berm Project, the Flood Office is taking the following action:

  • As for the irrigation systems, the Flood Office plans to install a sleeve through the top of the berm to allow for irrigation line access across the berm. The placement and removal of the irrigation intake lines will be up to the individual landowners.
  • In-ground irrigation lines in the berm footprint or temporary workspace areas that are damaged during construction will be replaced. That being said, the Flood Office does not plan to install new irrigation systems on the new berms, as this can put the berm integrity at risk. 
  • The Flood Office will work with individual landowners to fit the berm on their properties and work to minimize impacts to property owners. This could include local changes to the berm slope and/or alignment to avoid key features on private land.
  • The Town has an inventory of pumps, which they will deploy during flood events to pump stormwater drainage over the berm; however, the number of pumps is limited relative to potential stormwater inflows, so pumps will be deployed in a prioritized manner. Some areas may experience local stormwater ponding as a result of rainfall during a high river flow event.
  • The Town of Drumheller is responsible for the maintenance of the berm.
  • Details are not yet available for the proposed new senior centre on Michichi Drive; however, the Flood Office will take potential future development into consideration when sizing the culverts.
  • Berms will become public land, but the Flood Office has plans to place strategic gates and signage, discouraging the use of the berm as a pathway/trail.

Hospital Berm Extension "What We've Heard & How We're Responding" Report

WHAT WE HEARD

 

Community Input

  • Residents are wondering if the ramp at the end of 9 Street can be removed after construction. Residents are concerned that this ramp may invite people onto the berm.
  • In general, residents are okay with trees being removed. They also want to see grass on the berms.
  • Residents are wondering what is happening with existing irrigation systems and is the Flood Office putting new irrigation systems/sprinklers in.
  • Residents are wondering if the Flood Office is okay with the berm being sloped at a 4 horizontal to 1 vertical side slope ratio. Residents understand that it means that more of their property will be purchased by the Town, but it makes mowing much easier.
  • Residents want to know how culverts are managed during flood events when the backflow preventers are closed and it rains, therefore the swales are draining water towards the river. Does the Town have pumps to pump out the swales upstream of the culverts?
  • Residents are wondering who is responsible for the maintenance of the berm.

 

November 17th Community Engagement Event Feedback

The Community Engagement Event received a lot of positive feedback from residents in attendance. Specifically, residents appreciated that they could drop in, gather the information pertinent to them, and move on with their evenings. The event saw the largest turnout yet, with approximately 80 residents throughout the two-hour duration.

Some constructive feedback was also given. Residents noted that the berm alignment drawings were too small to read. Additionally, residents expressed their interest in being able to take home handouts at future Community Engagement Events.

  

HOW WE’RE RESPONDING

 

Drumheller Resiliency & Flood Mitigation Office’s Actions

Community and public engagement have been a large focal point for the Drumheller Resiliency & Flood Mitigation Office (Flood Office) during the development and implementation of the Flood Mitigation Project. Input received from the community is thoroughly considered by the Flood Office when making decisions related to flood mitigation protection for the Town of Drumheller.

Based on the input received for the Hospital Berm Extension Project, the DRFMO is taking the following action:

  • The ramp at the end of 9th Street will need to remain in place after the construction of the berm, to allow for maintenance and emergency response access quickly and easily on the berm. A gate can be included at the ramp to discourage public access.
  • As for the irrigation systems, the Flood Office plans to install a sleeve through the top of the berm to allow for irrigation line access across the berm. The placement and removal of the irrigation intake lines will be up to the individual landowners.
  • In-ground irrigation lines in the berm footprint or temporary workspace areas that are damaged during construction will be replaced. That being said, the Flood Office does not plan to install new irrigation systems on the new berms, as this can put the berm integrity at risk. 
  • The Flood Office will work with individual landowners to fit the berm on their properties and work to minimize impacts to property owners. This could include local changes to the berm slope and/or alignment to avoid key features on private land.
  • The Town has an inventory of pumps, which they will deploy during flood events to pump stormwater drainage over the berm; however, the number of pumps is limited relative to potential stormwater inflows, so pumps will be deployed in a prioritized manner. Some areas may experience local stormwater ponding as a result of rainfall during a high river flow event.
  • The Town of Drumheller is responsible for the maintenance of the berm.
  • Berms will become public land, but the Flood Office has plans to place strategic gates and signage, discouraging the use of the berm as a pathway/trail.

East Coulee Berm "What We've Heard & How We're Responding" Report

WHAT WE HEARD

Community Input

  • Saving trees is a high priority for residents of East Coulee, particularly the large cottonwoods along the east end of the berm alignment where the most clearing is required. Residents mentioned that the large trees at East Coulee are important for shade since not everyone has air conditioning. 
  • A couple of impacted landowners requested that any tree clearing not be done ahead of time (i.e., do it as part of fall construction, not before the spring nesting window) so that they can enjoy the trees and not be disturbed during nesting season. 
  • The fall 2023 construction window was generally agreeable amongst residents.
  • Residents agreeing to a buyout mentioned low inventory in real estate right now and possibly needing to wait until spring/summer to buy something else when more options are available.  
  • Residents expressed interest in the schedule and details of the tender timelines/process and construction sequencing. They want to know what they can expect and when. 
  • A couple of residents provided general comments about flood protection, that it is “over the top” and a flood of that magnitude will “never happen”.
  • Several East Coulee residents have asked about what happens to the houses to be demolished.
  • Residents inquired about compensation for partial buyouts.
  • The timeline for berm construction was also a common question.

November 17th Community Engagement Event Feedback

The Community Engagement Event received a lot of positive feedback from residents in attendance. Specifically, residents appreciated that they could drop in, gather the information pertinent to them, and move on with their evenings. The event saw the largest turnout yet, with approximately 80 residents throughout the two-hour duration.

Some constructive feedback was also given. Residents noted that the berm alignment drawings were too small to read. Additionally, residents expressed their interest in being able to take home handouts at future Community Engagement Events.

 

HOW WE’RE RESPONDING

Drumheller Resiliency & Flood Mitigation Office’s Actions

Community and public engagement have been a large focal point for the Drumheller Resiliency & Flood Mitigation Office (Flood Office) during the development and implementation of the Flood Mitigation Project. Input received from the community is thoroughly considered by the Flood Office when making decisions related to flood mitigation protection for the Town of Drumheller.

Based on the input received for the East Coulee Berm Project, the Flood Office is taking the following action:

  • Structures to be removed from land needed for berm construction will be put up for bid the same as previous structures (bids will be posted on the Town of Drumheller’s Tender Page). This gives residents the opportunity to purchase and repurpose them. If no one is interested in purchase, then demolition will move forward.
  • As for the compensation for partial buyouts, the compensation will be the higher of the Assessed or Appraised Value.
  • WSP Engineering will review the tree removal plan to determine if there can be any minor adjustments made to the design to save any additional trees (specifically the Cottonwoods). 
  • The tree clearing schedule is still being finalized, however, trees located on private property will not be cleared prior to the spring 2023 bird nesting window.
  • Construction will be phased such that the portion of the berm on Town/public land will be constructed first, allowing additional time for consultation with impacted residents. 
  • The preliminary program schedule that reflects the timeline for berm construction can be found on the flood website here. As with all construction projects, this preliminary schedule is subject to change.

Downtown Berm "What We've Heard & How We're Responding" Report

WHAT WE'VE HEARD

 

Q&A

 

Q: What alternates were considered instead of a 2-block road closure of Riverside Drive?

A: The design team considered a number of flood mitigation measures, including a partial road closure (one-way traffic), and leaving the road fully open but constructing a full-height retaining wall. 

 

Q: If there is a 2-block closure of Riverside Drive, will it impact emergency services response times?

A: The Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) found that emergency services response times would not be negatively impacted.

 

Q: Can we push the Downtown Berm out into the Red Deer River further to keep Riverside Drive Open?

A: The DRFMO has heard quite clearly from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Alberta Environment and Parks that berm encroachment into the river will not be permitted if there are viable alternatives, which there are. Placing fill material in a river causes significant harm to the aquatic environment and takes away from the room for the river to flow.

 

Q: Can the DRFMO put Riverside Drive on top of the Downtown Berm?

A: Additionally, the minimum road width for 2 lanes would be 7m, which would increase the berm footprint and cost significantly.

 

Q: Can the DRFMO use adaptive fill for the Downtown Berm, like in Midland and Newcastle?

A: One of the DRFMO’s goals is to build as much permanent flood mitigation infrastructure as possible in the next three years, while we have funding available, thereby minimizing future emergency response efforts and costs, especially in areas where so much critical infrastructure and vital community services are at stake, like the Downtown core.

 

Q: Could the existing road be re-aligned to fit between the berm and the houses by encroaching on 2 or 3 lots? We are accepting encroachment in other places, why not here?

A: Encroachment along 5th Street would require the full acquisition of these properties, not just encroachment (as the houses are fairly close to the road), and ultimately that’s more expensive. It would also likely require the acquisition of 5 properties, rather than the 3 mentioned. The additional 2 properties that would need to be acquired are 475 3rd Ave and 349 5th Street. To acquire these 5 properties would cost between $750,000 and $1,000,000. Furthermore, it would also result in incurring the cost of fully reconstructing this section of Riverside Drive. Since this portion of Riverside Drive is 300m and the cost of reconstructing 1 km of roadway is approx. $1,500,000, that’s an estimated additional ~$450,000 in road construction cost.

 

Q: Will residents have a say when it comes to the tree and shrub replacement plan for the Downtown Berm?

A: Yes, once the Downtown Berm project is at that stage, an online survey will be available to the public to provide their input on the tree and shrub replacement plan. The DRFMO has heard from residents that they would either like trees replanted in their backyard, or they would like none so as not to impact their river view. All of this input will be provided to the landscape architecture teams for consideration. The team will do everything they can to follow the Urban Tree Strategy and also incorporate residents’ requests.

 

Q: Can the Downtown Berm be built with a 2m top width instead of a 6m or 4m top width?

A: Unfortunately, no. A 2m top width makes the berm unsafe for maintenance, and also allows for rapid failure due to water seepage, which would impact the integrity of the berm now and in the future.

 

Q: When will the public be notified of the engineering decision made for the Downtown Berm?

A: A Community Engagement Session will be held on November 17th, and an update for the Downtown Berm will be provided. Stay tuned to social media and the flood website for more details on the session.

 

Q: Are retaining walls lower maintenance than earth-filled berms?

A: No. Retaining walls have maintenance costs such as guardrail maintenance, vandalism maintenance, and structural inspection and maintenance and earthfill inspection and maintenance. Earth-filled berms require vegetation maintenance and earthfill inspection and maintenance.

 

Q: Why does Downtown get a nice green space, while other areas like Midland and Newcastle do not?

A: The DRFMOs goal is to build permanent berms wherever it is feasible, in order to protect Drumheller into the future. In Midland and Newcastle, road closure was not an option, as there is no alternate access/egress for the adjacent properties, which is why the adaptive fill option was selected for these two communities.

 

Q: There are taxpayers that live across the highway that have nothing to do with the flood project, why do they have to contribute tax money to it?

A: Residents of any city or town pay taxpayer money for numerous expenditures that may not directly affect them. This is no different from the Flood Mitigation Project.  The Downtown Berm in particular also protects many community services used by all residents, including the arena, BCF, library and RCMP.

 

Q: Why do we need the Downtown Berm when we already have Dickson Dam?

A: The Dickson Dam provides a significant level of flood protection to the Town of Drumheller. We have been able to reduce the Red Deer River 100-year design flood flow rate from 2260m3/s to 1850m3/s by taking into account the operation of Dickson Dam. That being said, the floods in 2005 and 2013 were lower than 1850m3/s  and the Dickson Dam could not fully prevent the flooding.

 

Q: If there is a 2-block road closure of Riverside Drive, will there be river access?

A: Yes.

 

Q: If there is a 2-block road closure of Riverside Drive, how will Downtown be impacted by the increase in traffic?

A: If there is a 2-block closure of Riverside Drive, the Town will ensure that traffic mitigation measures are Implemented to keep traffic flowing smoothly through the downtown core, and to discourage short-cutting on adjacent residential streets.

 

Q: Can we close Riverside Drive temporarily and see how it affects traffic?

A: The Flood Mitigation Office has completed additional traffic count monitoring when the recent partial lane closures were in place for the ATCO Electric power pole relocation project and used this information to update our traffic study for the area.  We do not have plans at this time to complete full road closures; however, this could be considered in the future if it was determined that it would be informative for selecting a berm option.

 

COMMUNITY VALUES

 

At the Downtown Berm Community Engagement Sessions on September 20th, the DRFMO held discussions around the community’s values as they pertain to the Downtown Berm. We asked residents in attendance to list their top 3 values, and the results (with the number of residents who chose each value) are listed below.

  • Flood Protection (11)
  • Traffic (10)
  • Budget (8)
  • Landscape & Vegetation (7)
  • Environmental Impacts (4)
  • Emergency Response (4)
  • Visual Design (3)
  • Timeline (2)
  • Wildlife Impacts (1)

Additional information on the community’s values that were discussed is in the “How We’re Responding” section of this report.

 

"DOWNTOWN BERM COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT SESSION FOLLOW UP" SURVEY RESULTS

 

The “Downtown Berm Community Engagement Session Follow Up” survey received 4 submissions. The following are the survey questions and corresponding responses:

 

  1. What did you like/dislike about the format of the session?
    1. I liked the size of the session. It was small enough to engage with the group.
    2. I appreciated the informal setting and the opportunity to have concerns heard.
    3. I felt it was a very open discussion. Eric Sweet was great at having attendees realize the points they were bringing forward and that they were actually being dealt with. The one fellow who was adamant about not closing Riverside Drive completely showed strong emotions on the subject, but I disagree that “all of the town will be up in arms”. I have found that long-term residents are against changes but if the community wants growth, be it through population growth or a broader tax base, growth needs to happen. Also, people with disabilities have to be given some thought as far as access to the berm walkway must be taken into consideration. I see people walking, biking, scootering and wheelchairs using the trail. As this particular person is not an engineer, I totally discounted his input as self-serving. Now all that being said, try your best to keep Riverside Drive open with the snake in the road. If anything, it will slow down the traffic flow and still allow for emergency vehicle use. Also, I would greatly prefer to see a landscaped berm as opposed to a wall.
    4. I liked hearing other residents' perspectives and the engineering/design challenges being addressed by the team. No dislikes.

 

  1. Did you find the session to be informative?
    1. Yes, we were pleased to hear the explanation of why the Downtown Berm needs to be the way it needs to be.
    2. The session provided the same information as presented previously.
    3. Very much so.

 

  1. Do you have any additional feedback regarding the Downtown Berm?
    1. We are in favour of option 1. I believe that the town will get used to the new driving decisions they will need to make. No matter the decision, though we really feel that option 1 is the best option. Financially and aesthetically. If there is to be anything planted, I would like low shrubs and no tall trees. We are already losing a lot of our river view.
    2. I think it might be helpful to publish the value of the infrastructure being protected by the Downtown Berm, so community members who are not directly impacted by its construction (ex. residents of Newcastle) understand why it is an essential expense for the community.

 

  1. How do you prefer to be engaged and informed on the Drumheller Resiliency & Flood Mitigation Project?
    1. Responses are in favour of in-person engagement in small groups.

 

 

HOW THE DRFMO IS RESPONDING

 

Community and public engagement have been a large focal point for the Drumheller Resiliency & Flood Mitigation Office (DRFMO) during the development and implementation of the Flood Mitigation Project. Input received from the community is thoroughly considered by the DRFMO when making decisions related to flood mitigation protection for the Town of Drumheller.

 

Based on the input received from the Downtown Berm Community Engagement Sessions, the DRFMO is taking the following action:

 

  • Based on the community’s values discussed on September 20th, the DRFMO will adjust their flood mitigation plan for the Downtown Berm with these values in careful consideration. The top 3 priorities of the residents in attendance were flood protection, traffic, and budget. Almost all residents expressed their desire for flood protection, all traffic concerns were in regard to the change in traffic flow if there is a 2-block closure of Riverside Drive, and all residents with concerns around the budget wanted to ensure that the DRFMO will be able to stay within it.
  • Based on the Community Engagement Sessions on September 20th, it has been determined that out of the residents in attendance, the majority would prefer an earth-filled berm as opposed to a retaining wall. These residents were also in favour of the green space that would be provided. The DRFMO will take this input into careful consideration when adjusting their flood mitigation plan for the Downtown Berm.
  • Based on concerns around the tree and shrub replacement plan as it pertains to the Downtown Berm, the DRFMO will be hosting an online survey to gather community input on this stage of the project. As the project is not yet in this stage, the DRFMO is asking the community to stay tuned to our website and social media channels for the survey launch.
  • The community has raised concerns about the budget for the Downtown Berm. As construction prices are increasing daily, and the Drumheller Flood Mitigation Program is a complex, multi-year program, with many components like communication and environmental monitoring being managed at the program level versus being assigned to individual projects, the DRFMO can only provide cost estimates. Due to this, we do not have a constantly evolving budget breakdown by berm project on the flood website. If you would like more information on project costs, please email floodreadiness@drumheller.ca. Furthermore, the DRFMO publishes their audited financial statements on the flood website at floodreadiness.drumheller.ca/be-informed/resources/drumheller-resiliency-and-flood-mitigation-office under the “Financial Statements” headline.
  • Some concerns were also raised about the protection of wildlife. Prior to any work being done for the Downtown Berm, biologists conducted sweeps of the area for owls’ nests, animal dens, and other sensitive wildlife before tree removal took place, as the protection of the environment is of high importance to the DRFMO. Additioanal wildlife sweeps will be conducted in the future, prior to the start on any construction.
  • In regard to traffic concerns, the community mentioned drivers speeding and the need for large speedbumps. The DRFMO will forward this information along to the Town of Drumheller Bylaw Officers. Furthermore, in regard to traffic, the community noted that a 2-block road closure of Riverside Drive would help drive tourism traffic Downtown. The community also noted that this summer was a very high-volume summer for Drumheller. This information has been provided to Sweet Tech Engineering, for consideration and comparison with the results from their Traffic Impact Assessment.
  • Some residents raised concerns about the Downtown Berm being accessible for everyone, specifically those in wheelchairs. The DRFMO has included access ramps at various locations in the design of the downtown berm as part of the landscape planning. These ramps are designed at a flat enough slope to be accessible by wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers.
  • The DRFMO will take into consideration that the community prefers in-person engagement (preferably in smaller groups). We will coordinate future community engagement sessions based on this feedback.
  • The community has expressed their concerns regarding the maintenance of the berm. Due to this, the Town is gathering data on the new berm in terms of mowing areas, lengths of pipes to be maintained, and back-flow gates to be operated and exercised and will use this information to plan the berm maintenance budgets for the coming year’s Operating Budget. It may take a few years for the Town to optimize maintenance plans, as these new assets are added to the Town’s portfolio.
  • Residents feel it is important for the DRFMO to publicly publish the value of infrastructure being protected by the Downtown Berm. The assessed value of all parcels and buildings protected by the Downtown Berm is $30.6M based on the Town of Drumheller's latest assessment numbers.
  • Overall, the residents in attendance were in favour of protecting downtown and their homes with flood mitigation measures. Furthermore, the majority of residents were certain that while a change in traffic flow may be challenging in the beginning, they would be able to adapt to ensure the town continues to evolve.

 

-- Report End --

 

Newcastle Berm "What We've Heard & How We're Responding" Report

WHAT WE'VE HEARD

 

Q&A

Q: Who will be responsible for maintaining the vegetation once the landscaping is complete?
A: While the Landscape Architect’s design will include low maintenance, native seed mixes, The Town of Drumheller will be responsible for ongoing maintenance.

 

Q: What will the tax implications of maintaining the vegetation be?
A: The DRFMO has been working with Public Works to compile numbers for next year’s operating budget. Further details will be released as more information becomes available.  

 

Q: Can trees and shrubs be planted on the berm?
A: No, to protect the integrity of the structure, trees and shrubs will not be planted directly on the berm. However, through the Urban Tree Strategy, we intend to restore the natural environment that surrounds the berm with native trees and shrubs.

 

Q: How far from the berm can you plant a tree? What about a shrub? 
A: Trees can be planted 2 m from the base of the berm. However, proximity is dependent on the species and the tree canopy diameter at maturity. Shrubs can be planted 1-2 meters from the base of the berm, again depending on species.

 

Q: What about tree roots? Won’t they cut into the berm structure?
A: All exiting tress and their roots will be removed from the berm footprint prior to construction, along with all other organics.  At the Newcastle Berm, there will be a cut off trench 1.2 meters down and 2 meters wide, which will cut off roots from adjacent trees.

 

Q: Why were trees removed? Don’t trees help protect against erosion?
A: Yes, trees can help protect against erosion, but they can also threaten the safety and integrity of the berm. For example, in a flood event, trees may uproot, tip over, and cause significant damage to the berm.  Old trees may rot, and their root systems could leave voids and seepage flow paths in the berm.

 

Q: During construction, will there be closures at Newcastle Park?
A: Yes, during construction pathways will be closed along the Newcastle berm alignment. The dog park will also be closed until construction is complete. Newcastle Park and the ball diamonds will remain open with a single access point. The Newcastle Park Access map is available to review HERE.

 

Q: With the change to a reduced 4 m top width and 0.5 m freeboard berm design, why did we still go with adaptive fill on Riverside Drive?
A: There are some areas within Newcastle where space does not allow for a permanent berm structure as the footprint would be too wide and would block the road, even with the reduced berm top width. In these locations, in the event of a flood, the Town will place adaptive fill to protect the community.

 

Q: With the change to a reduced 4 m top width and 0.5 m freeboard berm design, is my house still recognized by all levels of government as being in a protected zone?
A: The new berm design will still meet the Provincial 100-year regulatory design flow rate of 1850m3/s. However, the reduction in size will impact the future adaptability of the berm structure, should the regulatory flood change in the future.

 

Q: Once the berm is built, will my home insurance cover loss or damage caused by a flood?
A: Standard home insurance policies typically do not protect against flood damage. However, some insurance providers give policyholders the option to purchase add-ons that provide a level of flood insurance that was previously unavailable. It is up to individual homeowners to shop around and find the policy that is the best fit for their home.

 

Q: Groundwater seepage seems to be a big problem for this area, how does the DRFMO plan to address this?
A: A cut off trench will be installed to reduce groundwater seepage during a flood event, but still allow for natural groundwater flow towards the river other times of the year.

 

Q: What will happen on the wet side of the berm near the river?
A: The wet side of the berm will remain natural.

 

Q: Where will temporary adaptive fill be stored?
A: In the event of a flood, the Town of Drumheller will have access to adaptive fill, which will be stored near the abandoned railway.

 

Q: Will there be a pathway built on top of the berm?
A: If a pathway did not previously exist, new pathways will not be developed at this time. However, existing pathways will be replaced.

 

Q: The berm alignment is behind my house and privacy is a concern for me. What will be done to deter the public from walking here?
A: While the access and use of public property will not be limited, no new pathways will be built in areas where pathways did not previously exist. Berm land will also be converted to Public Utility Lots throughout the valley, which limits development, such as trails, in the future.    

 

Q: Are you proposing to abandon one of the Newcastle Ball Diamonds for construction of a berm in this area?
A: No. There are no plans to abandon Newcastle Ball Diamonds for berm construction.

 

Q: As the current berms in Drumheller do not meet the design flood elevation of 1850 m3/s plus 0.5m freeboard, if someone intends to take out a development permit do they have to build the main floor to 1850 m3/s plus 0.5 m freeboard?
A: Residents located within the flood hazard overlay in the Land Use Bylaw must construct the first floor of their houses to the flood construction level which is the water elevation of an 1850 m3/s flow rate on the Red Deer River. Residents are not required to include a freeboard, however, building above the flood construction level increases their resilience to future flood events. The flood construction level for protected areas will be re-evaluated in the Land Use Bylaws once the berms are built.

 

Q: In regard to the "protected flood fringe" area and when does the Town intend to address this concept in the Town's Land Use Bylaw so that realtors and property owners have knowledge of future regulations?
A: The Town plans to update the Municipal Development Plan and Land Use Bylaw once the first set of berm upgrades has been completed.

 

Q: When will the Town address the conflicting information in the Municipal Development Plan with regards to building berms to 1640 m3/s plus 0.75 m freeboard and 1850 m3/s plus 0.75 m freeboard?
A: The current Municipal Development Plan, issued in December 2020, refers to the new Provincial 100-year regulatory design flow rate of 1850m3/s.  Of the 23 times the design flow rate is mentioned, there are 2 occurrences where the old, outdated flow rate inadvertently did not get updated. The Town is aware of this and plans to update the MDP for this and a few other typographical errors.

 

Q: When the berms are being constructed and heavy compaction is carried out, who will be covering the damages to house foundations and cracked wallboard that may occur?
A: There will be provisions in the contract documents requiring contractors to undertake the work in a manner to mitigate impacts to adjacent structures in their use of heavy equipment. Pre-construction inspection of adjacent properties may be completed. If any damages occur, they will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and responsibility assigned according to findings.

 

Q: What measures are in place for protection of the greenbelt, in particular, the natural native poplar trees?
A: Unfortunately, some trees will need to be removed to facilitate construction. Tree inventories and assessment are completed during design and a 5:1 tree replacement strategy is being implemented.

 

“Where Would You Like To See Vegetation Planted” Survey Results

The “Where Would You Like to See Vegetation Planted” survey received 18 submissions as it pertains to the Newcastle berm project. The following are the survey questions and corresponding responses:

 

  1. Where would you like to see vegetation planted?

First priority would be to plant shrubs/trees as close to the berms as allowed to make those areas wildlife friendly again.  2nd priority would be to re-tree and shrub / enhance any public parkland around the berms so they are pleasant and shady for people and for wildlife and birds to return    3rd priority would be to add trees to the local parks/ public areas  closest to the berm area where they were cut down - if those parks and public no longer have room for more vegetation then allocate those to the next level priority    4th priority would be to replace missing/sick trees in the downtown boulevards and walkways     5th priority is to add more planter boxes/ trees to the road ways (a great example was the poplars along Newcastle trail (3rd ave W) which have grown into a majestic display of greenery along the abandoned railway track and possible future walking trail)- seek out other areas  including the walking trail to the Tyrell museum and to Nacmine area  

Where it has the best chance of survival. Has to be accessible to whoever WE’LL be paying to look after it.

Trees along the river, specifically where the town cut them down.

Along the dike, where trees used to live

Where it was torn out

Everywhere

Newcastle Beach

Base of the dyke

In the same area where the trees were removed from.  Along the river (where possible) and/or behind properties which have been affected from tree removal (in conjunction with land owners).

Where the previous trees were removed

If the dikes are going to be used as part of a walking trail, taller, shade producing trees on one side with low growing vegetation on the other side. If they are not part of a walking trail, low growing, pollinator trees, shrubs, grasses and flowers.

Behind our house for the wildlife they have been very out of place since all the trees were cut down

I implore you to please spend time researching what grows in our climate and plant it in places that give it the best chance of thriving. 

Preference is given to actually replacing trees with more mature trees. Let’s not plant little trees that the wildlife are just going to destroy.

I would like to see vegetation  added in piblic areas throughout town, particularly around the spray park and, if possible, along the old railway track

I think it’s very important that all areas adjacent to the newly constructed dyke, including the slopes when possible, are re-vegetated with native, eco region specific trees and shrubs. The replanting should include all areas that were cleared for construction in the NewCastle region. Ideally, the town should aim to rebuild and widen the natural riparian corridors adjacent to the river.

Greenwood villa

 

  1. Is there anything else you would like to share regarding proposed areas for vegetation?

 

YES - it is critical that on going maintenance - watering and care be allocated the budget and priority otherwise the vegetation will not do well even if they are species selected for our climate - it takes care particularly in the first few years.    I would like to see communities enrolled into caring for the new vegetation and being stewards and monitors for the vegetation health AND a communication method in place to have residents easily alert the town to vegetation in stress and needing help. with the follow up so it gets done. 

Natural vegetation only

USE COMMON SENSE!

Not sure if anyone has ever told you this but tree roots hold river banks together. It’s like grade 6 science.

Yes

Quit ripping shit out when it doesn't need to be

Who will pay to maintain it?

Many of the trees removed have already begun to regrow, clean up is incomplete, and maintenance of vegetation (ie. grass) has been neglected.  Will this be addressed?

Taller, larger trees please

Low maintenance.

Just lots more trees and maybe some bushes for the wildlife, especially the deer have their babies back here so they need more places that are bushy so people can’t see them, and let there dogs chase them.

Many species cannot handle the valley heat and lack of moisture please don’t plant a bunch of thinks that will just be dead by the following spring.  Plant native species that have the best chance of survival.  Remember Drumheller is technically a desert.   Look around and see what is already thriving and do more of the same.

Please make an effort to plant appropriate native species in their appropriate habitat (Drumheller contains several mini climates. The north hill is different from the south hill and both are VERY different from the riverside areas where plants are being removed. If possible, it would wonderful to add species such as saskatoon, raspberry, golden currant, and wild rose which can be harvested by both wildlife and people to create an urban food forest.

The NewCastle area riparian forest is a true gem within the town limits. Outside of McMullen Island, it is the most biodiversity locations in the valley, and one that is enjoyed by many people in the community. Using only native trees and shrubs (see link below for a detailed list for bird garden region 11). Specifically ones that will contribute once again to a mature first canopy such as Western Cottonwood and Balsam Poplar along with the associated understory of Dogwoods, Serviceberry and Chokecherry - all 3 of which are very important food sources for birds and mammals.    https://birdgardens.ca/plant-selector/

More trees at the ball diamonds

“Newcastle Berm Walk Through Follow Up” Survey Results

The “Newcastle Berm Walk Through Follow Up” survey received 1 submission. The following are the survey questions and corresponding responses:

 

  1. What did you like/dislike about the format of the event?

The format was fine. 

It was very informative and setting the ribbons up gave the people attending a good visual of placement.

It was fine. More discussion on the use of native species would have been good.

Format was excellent.

I enjoyed the walk through and seeing and hearing what it was going to look like in each section

difficult to hear, should have considered having a portable microphone and speaker similar to what walking tour guides have

  

  1. Did you find the walk through to be informative?

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

For the most part

yes, very, especially along the back of the berm where certain home owner feel they own the property and have a right to privacy on public lands

 

  1. Do you have any input on what type of vegetation you would like to see planted, and where? (For those homeowners who would prefer to have no replacement trees and shrubs planted, please state so).

In all places where natural vegetation including trees, shrubs, and other lants, they should be replaced with native species only. The riparian environment is an essential habitat for many species and every effort needs to be made to maintain it and even expand it. Planting the berms with non-native vegetation that needs to be mowed should be avoided at all costs.

No BUT we would like to see the DEAD tower poplars and what other trees on the existing berm removed as they are unsightly and will come down on their own one day.

 

No

Not really, I would prefer no trees or shrubs behind my house.  Would like good topsoil and grass so it is easy to maintain

not an issue

 

  1. Do you have any additional questions regarding the construction of the berm?

To minimize impact on adjacent  landowners, whenever possible the use of adaptive fill and concrete barriers (such as those along Riverside Drive between the BCF and Schumakers Corner), and in Midland should be considered as alternative solutions.

NO

No

No

What is the plan about stump removal.  We have a continuous sink hole in our backyard from a tree that was taken down 20 years ago and now the root system is decomposing it keeps sinking in on us. I feel this will a huge concern with maintaining berm integrity.

No

 

  1. How do you prefer to be engaged and informed on the Drumheller Resiliency & Flood Mitigation Project?

In person, large group (1)

In person, small group (1)

Online surveys (2)

On site interactive engagements sessions (like the berm walk-through) (4)

Other (1)

 

  1. Do you have any additional thoughts or comments?

I did find it very disappointing that it was felt to be necessary to have a police presence. It is a sad comment on our community, and the whole progression of this project

It was brought up on the walk that the only exit from the beach should be widened and we believe that is a valid point because of the lack of visibility. Or have something similar to what they do in England for seeing around corners like mirrors. ( Of course they would have to be none breakable as someone would break them pretty fast)

Thanks for soliciting our feedback on this important issue. I am available for follow-up conversations about the landscape planning any time.

I was amazed at the illegal things people have put/built on the dike that must be removed. The people who held the meeting did an excellent job. Great to have the mayor there also.

None at this time

Public space is public space, berm area should be accessible to all, no private keep out signs allowed

 

HOW THE DRFMO IS RESPONDING

Community and public engagement have been a large focal point for the Drumheller Resiliency & Flood Mitigation Office (DRFMO) during the development and implementation of the Flood Mitigation Project. Input received from the community is thoroughly considered by the DRFMO when making decisions related to flood mitigation protection for the Town of Drumheller.

Based on the input received for the Newcastle Project, the DRFMO is taking the following action:

  • All input received regarding the tree and shrub replacement plan, as well as the responses to the “Where Would You Like to See Vegetation Planted” survey will be forwarded to the landscaping team at IBI. The landscape team will take into consideration all community input prior to the development of their landscape plan.
  • The DRFMO heard the community’s concern about the narrow width of the road that leads to Newcastle beach and the ball diamonds, especially with one of the access roads permanently closing. We will be reviewing our plans to ensure that there is ample space for incoming and outgoing traffic on the remaining access road to pass through safely.
  • There was a concern about walking up the slope of the berm during the winter as it may become slippery. To improve accessibility, the DRFMO has included access ramps to the top of the berm near the Newcastle parking lot.
  • The DRFMO will take into consideration that the community prefers on-site, interactive engagement sessions. We will coordinate future community engagement sessions based on this feedback.

-- Report End --

Midland Berm "What We've Heard & How We're Responding" Report

WHAT WE'VE HEARD

 

Q&A

Q: How many cubic metres of fill will be placed on the Midland berm?
A: 30,000 cubic metres of impervious fill will be required to complete the Midland berm project. 

Q: What will happen to the existing pathways within the berm footprint?
A: All existing pathways will remain. Once berm construction is complete, pathways will be repaved and reopened.

Q: Will there be any new pathways?
A: No, if a pathway did not previously exist, new pathways will not be developed at this time.

Q: Will there still be river access for snow mobiles in the winter?
A: Access to the river will be the same as it is now once berm construction is complete.

Q: Why does the berm taper off in certain areas?
A: There are some areas within Midland where space does not allow for a permanent berm structure as the footprint would be too wide and would block the road, as it is not possible to raise the existing concrete wall structure.  In these locations, in the event of a flood, the Town will place temporary, adaptive fill to protect the community.

Q: Who is responsible for maintaining the existing floodwall along the Midland berm?
A: The Town of Drumheller is responsible for ongoing maintenance of the floodwall.

Q: Can trees and shrubs be planted on the berm?
A: No, to protect the integrity of the structure, trees and shrubs will not be planted directly on the berm. However, through the Urban Tree Strategy, we intend to restore the natural environment that surrounds the berm with native trees and shrubs planted adjacent the berm.

Q: Once the landscaping is complete in Spring 2023, who will maintain the vegetation?
A: The Town of Drumheller will be responsible for ongoing maintenance.

Q: Why were trees removed? Don’t trees help protect against erosion?
A: Yes, trees can help protect against bank erosion during high flows, but they can also threaten the safety and integrity of the berm. For example, in a flood event, trees may uproot, tip over, and cause significant damage to the berm.  Trees at the end of their life cycle can also rot, leaving voids in the berm where roots once were.

Q: Children frequent the pathways along the construction site. How will the DRFMO mitigate this safety hazard?
A: The pathways impacted by construction will be closed to the public, and the public should stay out of fenced areas for their safety.  The contractor has been advised to pay special attention during school hours at the location where their haul route crosses the open pathway along North Dinosaur Trail, to watch for children crossing on their way to school.

Q: I thought construction was scheduled to begin mid-August, why hasn’t anything happened yet?
A: Contractors began pre-construction mobilization for the Midland Berm project mid-August. During this initial phase of construction, preparations occur onsite which typically consists of moving heavy equipment, trailers, materials, and tools to the jobsite prior to the commencement of any work, along with identifying locations of utilities within the work zone. The project biologist completed the wildlife and bird sweep on August 31, and the next phase of construction, which includes demolition and removals, will begin the first full week of September, following the community walk through session

Q: When will construction be complete?
A: Construction will continue until it gets too cold to place materials, which we expect to be some time in November 2022. Final cleanup and landscaping will occur in Spring 2023.

Q: When the berms are built in various neighbourhoods, is it the Town's intention to have a drainage ditch between the properties and berms so that there is system in place for heavy rains and protection of the houses?
A: Yes. The berm designs will include the design of an overland conveyance route along the inside toe of the berms. In the case of the Midland berm, in areas where ditches don’t exist, the drainage is typically conveyed in the roadway curb and gutter.

Q: When the berms are being constructed and heavy compaction is carried out, who will be covering the damages to house foundations and cracked wallboard that may occur?
A: There will be provisions in the contract documents requiring contractors to undertake the work in a manner to mitigate impacts to adjacent structures in their use of heavy equipment. The Flood Office will undertake pre-construction inspections for the homes at most risk for damage due to vibration.

Q: In the past, mine shafts that run under the river and throughout the Drumheller valley have been inundated by flood / storm water, what is being done to protect residential properties, i.e. from underground flooding?
A: Mine shafts are outside the scope of the current flood mitigation program.

Q: What measures are in place for protection of the greenbelt, in particular, the natural native poplar trees?
A: Unfortunately, some trees will need to be removed to facilitate construction. Tree inventories and assessment are completed during design and a 5:1 tree replacement strategy is being implemented.

Q: As the current berms in Drumheller do not meet the design flood elevation of 1850 m3/s plus 0.5m freeboard, if someone intends to take out a development permit do they have to build the main floor to 1850 m3/s plus 0.5 m freeboard?
A: Residents located within the flood hazard overlay in the Land Use Bylaw must construct the first floor of their houses to the flood construction level which is the water elevation of an 1850 m3/s flow rate on the Red Deer River. Residents are not required to include a freeboard, however, building above the flood construction level increases their resilience to future flood events. The flood construction level for protected areas will be re-evaluated in the Land Use Bylaws once the berms are built.

Q: When will the Town address the conflicting information in the Municipal Development Plan with regards to building berms to 1640 m3/s plus 0.75 m freeboard and 1850 m3/s plus 0. 5 m freeboard?
A: The current Municipal Development Plan, issued in December 2020, refers to the new Provincial 100-year regulatory design flow rate of 1850m3/s.  Of the 23 times the design flow rate is mentioned, there are 2 occurrences where the old, outdated flow rate inadvertently did not get updated. The Town is aware of this and plans to update the MDP for this and a few other typographical errors in 2022.

 

“Where Would You Like To See Vegetation Planted” Survey Results

The “Where Would You Like to See Vegetation Planted” survey received 18 submissions as it pertains to the Midland berm project. The following are the survey questions and corresponding responses:

  1. Where would you like to see vegetation planted?

On both side of the new walk way

River side of dike in Midland east of 17 Street.

The green space along North Dinosaur Trail and 2 Ave NW. It would be nice for a few trees to be planted closer to the playground to offer some shade!    I know Midland Community Hall is planning a big project for an Accessible Outdoor Rink. Maybe reach out to see if trees could be planted there (they also have a large green space a nd community playground).

Midland community hall once the new outdoor rink is completed

I would like to see trees planted all along the river edge where they were removed. They create a significant amount of shade to walk through in the hot summer days.

Behind the properties backing the berm that way they can grow and provide privacy to the berm

First priority would be to plant shrubs/trees as close to the berms as allowed to make those areas wildlife friendly again.  2nd priority would be to re-tree and shrub / enhance any public parkland around the berms so they are pleasant and shady for people and for wildlife and birds to return    3rd priority would be to add trees to the local parks/ public areas  closest to the berm area where they were cut down - if those parks and public no longer have room for more vegetation then allocate those to the next level priority    4th priority would be to replace missing/sick trees in the downtown boulevards and walkways     5th priority is to add more planter boxes/ trees to the road ways (a great example was the poplars along Newcastle trail (3rd ave W) which have grown into a majestic display of greenery along the abandoned railway track and possible future walking trail)- seek out other areas  including the walking trail to the Tyrell museum and to Nacmine area  

All around town not just in dyke locations - downtown especially

Where it has the best chance of survival. Has to be accessible to whoever WE’LL be paying to look after it.

Varying heights and locations to create vistas and viewpoints

Along the dike, where trees used to live

If the dikes are going to be used as part of a walking trail, taller, shade producing trees on one side with low growing vegetation on the other side. If they are not part of a walking trail, low growing, pollinator trees, shrubs, grasses and flowers.

Along the nature trail downtown

I implore you to please spend time researching what grows in our climate and plant it in places that give it the best chance of thriving. 

Preference is given to actually replacing trees with more mature trees. Let’s not plant little trees that the wildlife are just going to destroy.

I would like to see vegetation  added in piblic areas throughout town, particularly around the spray park and, if possible, along the old railway track

Along the dry side of the berm, right now the grass is up to my chest in places and I am only 5’6. The path is above it and is a high active transportation route for visitors and residents. I would suggest planting wild flowers that require no maintenance and ones that are drought resistant. No need for mowing the berm and it helps the environment.

On both sides of the berm and Midland Hall Outdoor Rink rebuild

 

  1. Is there anything else you would like to share regarding proposed areas for vegetation?

I would like to see not only trees planted but bush as well.

I hope that there is a watering plan in place to help these trees grow.

Wild flowers and zero scrapping along the pathways this will ensure there is minimal maintenance as this area is always forgotten about for cutting and weed maintenance.

It would be nice to see a variety of trees and shrubs.

YES - it is critical that on going maintenance - watering and care be allocated the budget and priority otherwise the vegetation will not do well even if they are species selected for our climate - it takes care particularly in the first few years.    I would like to see communities enrolled into caring for the new vegetation and being stewards and monitors for the vegetation health AND a communication method in place to have residents easily alert the town to vegetation in stress and needing help. with the follow up so it gets done. 

Natural vegetation only

USE COMMON SENSE!

Please only use native species and use Alberta wildflower species

Low maintenance.

The nature trail needs to have the old trees removed

Many species cannot handle the valley heat and lack of moisture please don’t plant a bunch of thinks that will just be dead by the following spring.  Plant native species that have the best chance of survival.  Remember Drumheller is technically a desert.   Look around and see what is already thriving and do more of the same.

Please make an effort to plant appropriate native species in their appropriate habitat (Drumheller contains several mini climates. The north hill is different from the south hill and both are VERY different from the riverside areas where plants are being removed. If possible, it would wonderful to add species such as saskatoon, raspberry, golden currant, and wild rose which can be harvested by both wildlife and people to create an urban food forest.

“Midland Berm Walk Through Follow Up” Survey Results

The “Midlabd Berm Walk Through Follow Up” survey received 1 submission. The following are the survey questions and corresponding responses:

  1. What did you like/dislike about the format of the event?
    • Knowledgeable, friendly people willing to answer questions, a bit hard to hear the engineers for people like me who cannot hear very well

  2. Did you find the walk through to be informative?
    • Very much, cleared up a lot for me, the walk-about was a great idea!

  3. Do you have any input on what type of vegetation you would like to see planted, and where? (For those homeowners who would prefer to have no replacement trees and shrubs planted, please state so).
    • Poplars of any type

  1. Do you have any additional questions regarding the construction of the berm?
    • No

  2. How do you prefer to be engaged and informed on the Drumheller Resiliency & Flood Mitigation Project?
    • On site interactive engagement sessions (like the berm walk-through)
  1. Do you have any additional thoughts or comments?
    • No

 

HOW THE DRFMO IS RESPONDING

Community and public engagement have been a large focal point for the Drumheller Resiliency & Flood Mitigation Office (DRFMO) during the development and implementation of the Flood Mitigation Project. Input received from the community is thoroughly considered by the DRFMO when making decisions related to flood mitigation protection for the Town of Drumheller.

Based on the input received for the Midland Project, the DRFMO is taking the following action:

  • All input received regarding the tree and shrub replacement plan, as well as the responses to the “Where Would You Like to See Vegetation Planted” survey will be forwarded to the landscaping team at IBI. The landscape team will take into consideration all community input prior to the development of their landscape plan.
  • The DRFMO will take into consideration that the community prefers in-person, interactive engagement. We will coordinate future community engagement sessions based on this feedback.
  • A large, and very valid concern, regarding the safety of children in the construction areas has been taken very seriously by the DRFMO. All construction teams have been notified that there are bus stops in the area, and that children will be out and about. The construction teams have confirmed that they will exercise all safety protocol while on site, especially during bus pick up and drop off hours.

 

-- Report End --

Willow Estates Berm "What We've Heard & How We're Responding" Report

WHAT WE'VE HEARD

 

Q&A

Q: Will there still be emergency access to the river? 

A: Yes, access to the river will remain the same with an accessible gravel road and a gate. 

 

Q: Will residents be able to access the river with canoes, kayaks, snow mobiles, etc.? 

A: River access will remain the same as it is now, with a gated, accessible gravel road. 

 

Q: How wide is the top of the berm? 

A: The top of the berm will be 4m wide. 

 

Q: How do the stormwater gates work on the berm? 

A: The stormwater outfalls will be fitted with gates to mitigate against river water moving back into the community during a high flow event through the stormwater drainage system.  Each manhole will have both a passively operated flap gate and a manually operated sluice gate, which can be closed during a flood event by Town staff. 

 

Q: Why can there be riprap for the Willow Estates Berm, but not the Downtown Berm? 

A: The Downtown berm does have riprap in some locations to protect the riverbank and adjacent berm against erosion, similar to the Willow Estates berm.  For the Downtown Berm alignment considered which keeps Riverside Drive open and does not have a retaining wall, the berm footprint extends into the river by several metres, with riprap placed on to of it, which would be a significant flow constriction and have impacts on fish habitat.  This Downtown berm option was not advanced further as Fisheries and Oceans Canada have told the Flood Office that if alternate berm alignments are available, they will not permit those with significant in-stream encroachments. 

 

Q: How far is the Willow Estates Berm ditch from resident’s backyards? 

A: Approximately 1m. 

 

Q: Given the slope of the Willow Estates Berm, who is responsible for the ongoing maintenance? 

A: The Town of Drumheller will be responsible for mowing of the berm several times a year.  The berm side slopes will be similar to a roadway ditch side slope. 

 

Q: Why can’t the Willow Estates Berm encroach into the river, leaving more space behind residents’ backyards? 

A: Encroaching into the river impacts aquatic habitat, which requires approval from Alberta Environment and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, which are difficult to get approved, especially when there are other viable alternates that do not encroach into the river. 

 

Q: Now that the Willow Estates Berm will be higher than the previous berm, the public walking on the berm top will cause privacy issues for residents’ private backyards. What is being done to mitigate this? 

A: Signage will be in place, and no formal trails will be constructed on the berm crest.  If a landowner is particularly concerned about this, the DRFMO can consider tree and shrub planting to block the view of their backyard.

 

Q: How does the Willow Estates Berm drain? 

A: A ditch will be constructed in between the toe of the berm and the back of lots to collect runoff.  The ditch will convey the stormwater runoff and snow melt to stormwater catch basins at central locations, to convey the runoff to the river via pipes. 

 

Q: If we don’t want any replacement trees or shrubs planted, to ensure our river view is not obstructed, is this possible? 

A: The landscape team will work with the Flood Office team to review and consider all individual resident preferences. The team will attempt to accommodate requests to the greatest extent possible, as we work to balance the project requirements. 

 

Q: Will the construction team be on the lookout for children catching the school bus? 

A: Yes, the construction team has been notified of the bus stop locations and will act safely and diligently during school hours. 

 

Q: Who will be responsible for dust control during construction? 

A: The contractor will install tarps on the construction fencing to help mitigate against dust blowing into adjacent yards and will manage the fill placement to mitigate the drying of materials and the development of dusty conditions.  Should you have concerns about dust as the work progresses, feel free to reach out to Wilco at 403-660-6607. 

 

Q: Why can we drive on the 7th Ave portion dike in Willow Estates but not the Downtown dike?                

A: This roadway is a low-volume thoroughfare. The existing roadway modification is relatively minor in Willow Estates. Traffic safety and geometric design are not significant issues, as they are for the Downtown Dike. 

 

Q: Why doesn't the dike just run south to tie into the railway grade instead of raising 7th Ave?                         

A: The above measure was reviewed but had drawbacks. These include: (1) 7 Ave would still have to be raised on either side of the dike to allow for a gradual transition; (2) requires a larger and more complex cross drain/culvert structure to convey ditch flow across the dike; and (3) potential backup of ditch flow at cross drain/culvert would result in flooding of Willow Estates.

 

Q: Why does the dike not extend further west to protect the properties adjacent to Riverside Drive?               

A: Riverside Drive and the area to the east are higher than the elevation of the 1850 m3/s flood.

 

Q: Will raising 7th Avenue affect access to the properties in Riverside Gardens?                                          

A: No, Riverside Gardens’ roads were designed to accommodate flood mitigation elevation changes.

 

“Where Would You Like To See Vegetation Planted” Survey Results

The “Where Would You Like to See Vegetation Planted” survey received 17 submissions as it pertains to the Willow Estates berm project. The following are the survey questions and corresponding responses:

 

  1. Where would you like to see vegetation planted? 
    • Trees by the entrance to the town, the dog run area across from the high school, and along the road.
    • In the riverbank where the trees will be downed from.
    • I would like to see more vegetation along the area near the railway corridor between highway 10 and the High School.
    • Intermittently along the berm with some open areas allowing for river views.
    • Between the lots to limit the obstruction of the view. Berry bushes such as saskatoons and choke cherry further down the berm closer to the river.
    • First priority would be to plant shrubs/trees as close to the berms as allowed to make those areas wildlife friendly again. Second priority would be to re-tree and shrub any public parkland around the berms, so they are pleasant and shady for people and for wildlife and birds to return. Third priority would be to add trees to the local parks/ public areas closest to the berm area where they were cut down - if those parks and public no longer have room for more vegetation then allocate those to the next level priority. Fourth priority would be to replace missing/sick trees in the downtown boulevards and walkways. Fifth priority is to add more planter boxes/ trees to the roadways (a great example was the poplars along Newcastle trail on 3rd Avenue W) which have grown into a majestic display of greenery along the abandoned railway track and possible future walking trail. Sixth priority is to seek out other areas including the walking trail to the Tyrell museum and to the Nacmine area.
    • Where they have the best chance of survival. Has to be accessible to whomever we’ll be paying to look after them.
    • Adjacent to the berm. A riparian corridor with a small peninsula of vegetation reaching away from the berm.
    • On the Bankview Drive green space.
    • Along the riverbanks.
    • If the berm is going to be used as part of a walking trail, then taller shade-producing trees on one side with low-growing vegetation on the other side. If the berm is not part of a walking trail, low-growing, pollinator trees, shrubs, grasses and flowers.
    • Around the high school football field and the treeless green space across from the high school.
    • Back near the river and park and up by the highway where most traffic drives by. Make it nicer to look at not just road and dead grass.
    • Please spend time researching what grows in our climate and plant it in places that give it the best chance of thriving.
    • Preference is given to actually replacing trees with more mature trees. Let’s not plant little trees that the wildlife is going to destroy.
    • This area is a popular ending spot for many of those who float the river in the summer months. Would be nice to see a nice grassy treed area for people to gather. Steps up to this area (in lieu of rip rap) would enhance this exit point.

 

  1. Is there anything else you would like to share regarding proposed areas for vegetation?
    • Shrubs and elm trees that are appropriately watered.
    • I would like to see the trees planted between the houses for the birds & wildlife to seek refuge. Also, that would allow the citizens to have a view of the river.
    • If possible, I would like to see the following shrubs and trees planted in order to attract birds and wildlife: chokecherries, white willows, Russian olives, saskatoon berry, pincherry, and serviceberry.
    • We have had problems with towering poplar suckering onto our property and would not like to see them planted next to the lots. Russian olive would be a preferred choice.
    • It is critical that ongoing maintenance (watering and care) be allocated to the budget, otherwise, the vegetation will not do well even if they are species selected for our climate. It takes care, particularly in the first few years. I would like to see communities enrolled in caring for the new vegetation and being stewards and monitors for the vegetation health and a communication method in place to have residents easily alert the town to vegetation in stress and needing help.
    • Natural vegetation only.
    • Lots of wild roses, saskatoons, and black birch.
    • Please develop this area instead of leaving it as a field.
    • Removing dead trees along nature trails would be awesome as it would make for safer walks without fear of tree falling.
    • Low-maintenance trees and shrubs.
    • They should be planted along the roads once you come down and into the valley. It is our first impression, and it looks industrial and dusty rather than inviting and pretty.
    • Many species cannot handle the valley heat and lack of moisture. Please don’t plant a bunch of things that will just be dead by the following spring. Plant native species that have the best chance of survival. Remember Drumheller is technically a desert. Look around and see what is already thriving and do more of the same.

 

“Willow Estates Berm Walk Through Follow Up” Survey Results

 

The “Willow Estates Berm Walk Through Follow Up” survey received 4 submissions. The following are the survey questions and corresponding responses:

 

  1. What did you like/dislike about the format of the event?
    • I like the small group in person interaction.
    • Outdoors was nice.
    • The format was very good. You stuck to your agenda & presented the facts.
    • It was nice to walk through. It helped visualize the project.

 

  1. Did you find the walk through to be informative?
    • It answered all my remaining questions.
    • So so. We had already had 3 berm meetings at Willow Point so personally I didn’t really find anything all that much more informative. Some of the Flood Mitigation Team members were there that we had not seen & some other community members were present that were not at the other 3 meetings so that was good.
    • Yes.
    • Yes.

 

  1. Do you have any input on what type of vegetation you would like to see planted, and where? (For those homeowners who would prefer to have no replacement trees and shrubs planted, please state so).
    • I would like to add buffalo berry and wolf willow to the previous list I gave. I would like to see them planted on the river side of the berm
    • If there is to be anything planted, I would like low shrubs and no tall trees. We are already losing a lot of our river view.
    • I do like the idea of having some vegetation planted as we like to view birds & wildlife. I would like to see the vegetation planted between the houses so as to not block our view of the river. Absolutely no Cottonwood Poplars or Elm trees. Trees with berries & lilacs are nice, as well as the wild roses. Some spruce trees, Mugo Pines, and Ohio Buckeye are also favourites.
    • Anything planted should be on the riverside, but we prefer no big trees or tall shrubs. We would much prefer a clear view of the river.

 

  1. Do you have any additional questions regarding the construction of the berm?
    • Only that we be notified when the province issues the permit.
    • With the bus stop right in the middle of the construction what is going to be done to keep our kids safe? When brooks asphalt did the trail, their trucks were blocking the roads with no flag persons and I have already seen the company hired to do the berm construction speeding in this same area. There is going to be a lot of traffic due to the berm work and I am already concerned about the safety of our children.
    • No.
    • No.

 

  1. How do you prefer to be engaged and informed on the Drumheller Resiliency & Flood Mitigation Project?
    • Responses are in favour of in-person engagement in small groups

 

  1. Do you have any additional thoughts or comments?
    • I would like to thank those that have chosen public service. It is a difficult task that can never satisfy all involved.
    • No.
    • No.
    • No.

 

 

HOW THE DRFMO IS RESPONDING

 

Community and public engagement have been a large focal point for the Drumheller Resiliency & Flood Mitigation Office (DRFMO) during the development and implementation of the Flood Mitigation Project. Input received from the community is thoroughly considered by the DRFMO when making decisions related to flood mitigation protection for the Town of Drumheller.

 

Based on the input received for the Willow Estates Berm Project, the DRFMO is taking the following action:

 

  • All input received regarding the tree and shrub replacement plan, as well as the responses to the “Where Would You Like to See Vegetation Planted” survey will be forwarded to the landscape architecture team at Ground Cubed. The landscape team will take into consideration all community input prior to the revision and finalization of their landscape plan.
  • The DRFMO will take into consideration that the community prefers in-person engagement (preferably in smaller groups). We will coordinate future community engagement sessions based on this feedback.
  • A large, and very valid concern, regarding the safety of children in the construction areas has been taken very seriously by the DRFMO. All construction teams have been notified that there are bus stops in the area, and that children will be out and about. The construction teams have confirmed that they will exercise all safety protocol while on site, especially during bus pick up and drop off hours.
  • The community has expressed their concerns regarding the maintenance of the berm. Due to this, the Town is gathering data on the new berm in terms of mowing areas, lengths of pipes to be maintained, and back-flow gates to be operated and exercised and will use this information to plan the berm maintenance budgets for the coming year’s Operating Budget. It may take a few years for the Town to optimize maintenance plans, as these new assets are added to the Town’s portfolio.
  • The priority for vegetation replacement under the Flood Program is to replace trees and shrubs in the same community as where vegetation has been removed. The DRFMO will consider placement of trees in other areas, including in other public spaces, along the new CN Rail trail and adjacent streets when there is not sufficient space to plant the replacement trees and shrubs in the project areas and/or where these other public spaces make good sense for new plantings.
  • Residents of Willow Estates were concerned about the large Poplar tree on the West end of Willow Estates. Due to this, the DRFMO’s Geotechnical Engineers have had a detailed look at the tree and interaction with the berm footprint, and after careful consideration, have deemed that the tree must be removed. While the DRFMO makes every effort to avoid impacting trees, sometimes the nature of capital projects requires that some trees are removed to make space for project work. The DRFMO considered all possible ways to save the tree, including a retaining wall into the berm slide slope and bending the berm around the tree. Unfortunately, the retaining wall would need to be 1.25m tall and the roots of such a large tree within the berm slide slope would impact the integrity of the berm now, and in the future. To reduce the height of the retaining wall, the berm alignment would need to be pushed out, which is not possible as the existing pumphouse is in the way. The DRFMO is looking into ways they can repurpose the tree upon its removal, as the life and legacy of Drumheller trees are of utmost importance to both the Town of Drumheller and the DRFMO. Repurposing options considered could be tree carving, firewood made available to local residents, or wood chips which could be used by the nearby Drumheller Valley Secondary School, depending on the condition of the tree once it is down.

 

-- Report End --

Construction Impacts on Homes

The DRFMO heard that people were worried about how construction would impact their homes. We will be implementing a vibration monitoring program including pre-construction inspections, monitoring and adjusting during construction and completing post-construction monitoring as needed.

Riverside Drive Road Closure

The DRFMO has heard people are concerned about the Riverside Drive road closure. Based on this, we postponed construction to allow time for the design team to prepare additional designs for the Downtown Berm Phase 2, for additional public consultation and to fully consider all of the tradeoffs.

Tree Clearing

The DRFMO heard people are concerned about tree clearing. We developed an Urban Forestry Management plan and will implement a tree replacement program, planting five new trees or shrubs for every healthy tree removed during construction.

Community members and Mayor Colberg have developed a project to repurpose trees taken down during construction.

We held a tree blessing ceremony to honour the lives of the trees removed.

We made mulch freely available to the public from these trees.

We hosted an online survey to gather input on where the community would like to see replacement trees and shrubs planted.

Willow Estates

The DRFMO heard concerns about public access behind residents’ homes, so we have removed a river access staircase planned for construction at the east end of the project.

Newcastle

The DRFMO heard landowner concerns about basement seepage and stormwater drainage.  We have adjusted the berm alignment to move it further away from homes, increasing the seepage path, and have included stormwater system upgrades in the project.

Midland

The DRFMO heard concerns about stormwater ponding on the road at the west end of Midland so we have incorporated stormwater drainage improvements as part of the berm project.

Project Costs

The DRFMO heard concerns about overall program costs so we have adjusted the berm top width and reduced freeboard to save on construction costs.

Lehigh

The DRFMO heard from Lehigh residents that they didn’t want to be bought out, they wanted a berm instead. Due to this, the DRFMO commissioned a comprehensive study to look at the full range of alternates for Lehigh. The study found that buyouts remain the best flood mitigation strategy for the community.

Design Flow Rate

The DRFMO heard opposition to the design flow rate being set at 1850m3/s. This flow rate is set by the Province and not something the Town of Drumheller or Flood Office have flexibility on.

Buyout Program Offers

The DRFMO heard concerns about the buyout program offers. We researched what was done in a number of other jurisdictions, and consulted with our funding partners. Unfortunately, based on the current funding agreements with the Province and Federal government, we can only offer fair market value as determined by appraised or assessed value for land.

Project Management

Mayor and Council heard that more communications and transparency was needed for the project, so a new management team and communications team was brought in in June of 2021.