The City of Brandon has a five-step plan to permanently improve its flood protection — beginning with the dikes south of the Assiniboine River.
The projected completion date was originally 2015; however, with the summer flood the city is currently dealing with, that date may be pushed back.
"They have till … end of next year to complete the work, but in view of the flood, we’ll have to review with the contractor how reasonable that is," said Patrick Pulak, the city’s director of engineering and water resources.
Cornwallis left out of dike plans, reeve says
Highway 110 will be protected by a dike raised to 2011 levels plus two feet.
This particular dike had been taken out of Brandon’s flood protection plans, but thanks to some additional funding, it is back on the books.
RM of Cornwallis Reeve Reg Atkinson is disappointed, once again, that the RM was not included in the plans.
“I guess it’s a surprise that they’re planning again without talking to us,” Atkinson said.
The RM has expressed concern that a dike along 110 could put some rural properties at risk.
“In the event of another flood like 2011, it’ll raise the water artificially at several properties upstream of the 110,” Fred Driedger previously told the Sun.
City engineer Patrick Pulak said the project will be led by Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation, as it is outside of city boundaries.
The province said the RM of Cornwallis was invited to a meeting held on March 10 and 11and MIT staff believe some councillors from the RM did attend that meeting.
The RM of Cornwallis had to hastily build a dike to protect properties along Veterans Way. Atkinson said a “permanent solution” is needed there.
“It’s high and narrow, and the reason being, we had to steal off the width to keep adding to the top of it,” Atkinson said.
"It’s also going to come down to the agreement we have with the province and the federal government as to … the availability of the funding."
The first project will focus on the dike between 26th Street and Fifth Street North, as well as a small portion at 17th Street East.
"In our rush to do the 2011 (dikes), some of the side slopes are not ideal," Pulak told a city council meeting earlier this week. "Some of the areas do poke out a bit into the river and we want to bring them back in, so there’s less of a risk of erosion."
City council approved the low bid from Cumming & Dobbie for the south dike works at a cost of $3.56 million.
A total of four submissions were received, ranging from $3.56 million to $7.5 million.
Pulak said the significant difference in the bids likely had to do with where the contractors planned to source their clay from, as the project will use "an enormous amount."
This project is a partnership among the city, the province and the federal government at a cost of $27 million.
As previously reported, the federal government will provide $12.25 million through the Building Canada Fund, and the province will match that total. The city will contribute $2.5 million to the project.
The dike improvements will be divided into five separate projects for "ease of implementation;" however, work could be done concurrently.
The second project will deal with dike improvements on the north side of the river, between 18th Street and First Street. Pulak expects the tender to go out for that project within the next month.
The dike is going to be moved further south to make room for a retention pond on the Riverbank Discovery Centre land.
The third project will be getting rid of the storm sewer outflows along Kirkcaldy Drive, and instead run those into the new retention pond to be located east of Conservation Drive.
The fourth piece will be to build a new lift station near Conservation Drive to relocate how the flow gets across the river. The old lift station will still be used for domestic waste on the south side of the river.
The fifth piece of the upgrades has to do with protecting Kasiurak Bay.
"There’s some work there that we’ve got to do that’s a bit different than everything else," Pulak said.
As for the Grand Valley Road dike, refilling the gap will likely be the solution in the event of future flooding.
"We don’t necessarily always have to go that same height that we’re at now, depending on the projections that we’re getting," Pulak said.
The clay used to cover Grand Valley Road will be stockpiled once the water recedes so it is easier to access next time around.
Pulak said they may consider other options, such as a gate system.
The decision to let First Street North flood was a mutual agreement by the city and the province.
"We only have so much money, so in the end we were protecting houses, we were protecting the businesses," Pulak said.
They may consider looking at different options for First Street in the future, but more money would need to be made available, he added.
Also included in the $27 million is dike construction along Highway 110; however, Pulak says that is a project under the direction of Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation.
When asked why the permanent flood protection measures weren’t completed earlier, Pulak said "it just doesn’t happen that fast, especially when involving three levels of government."
Pulak said that following a flood, there is cleanup, re-evaluation, looking for funding and putting together tender documents, which all take time.
"Could it have been done faster? Perhaps. In retrospect of what’s happening now, you wish you would have done it sooner, but that’s the nature of the beast when you’re contracting work."
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