By Jillian Austin
While there’s no flood threat this year in Brandon, work continues on dikes to protect the city for years to come.
Ted Snure, the city’s general manager of development services, says they made sure they were prepared for high water levels again this year.
“By doing some side slope adjustments, picking some of the locations where we had weeping water through the dikes, creating some problems for us, just to get us ready for spring of 2012,” Snure said.
The next step is coming up with a final design for all existing dikes to meet the flood elevation of 2011 plus two feet.
The permanent dikes are located near Queen Elizabeth Park to the railway line around Fifth Street, and at Knowlton Drive to First Street.
“It’s not just a matter of adding more material, we have to ensure that by adding more material we have sufficient side slopes to keep that material where it’s at,” Snure said. “It will change the whole profile of what that dike is, so our engineers in Winnipeg are coming up with that detailed design.”
Mayor Shari Decter Hirst said the top priority is to make sure the structural integrity is in place, before they spend their efforts on making them “pretty.”
“The first priority is to make sure that they’re going to be able to do the job that we need them to do, should we need to call on them again to perform at that capacity,” she said.
The city is working with the Province of Manitoba on permanent dikes for First Street and 18th Street.
Snure said they are also looking to find a way to control penetrations through the dikes.
“When you put dikes up, it prevents water from flowing directly to the river,” he said. “We’re working on the designs to come up with a new way to control those penetrations.”
The city managed to come out of the 2011 flood relatively unscathed. But one area that was hit hard was the Riverbank Discovery Centre.
Pathways need to be restored, and the pond behind the centre suffered significant damage.
“The pond … was probably the biggest piece that got virtually destroyed,” Snure said. “The intention is to bring that back to what it was prior to the flood, and the pathway systems around the Discovery Centre, the intention is to restore those as well.”
Decter Hirst said the Discovery Centre “is facing some tremendous restoration decisions going forward.”
“Of course the river changes, and so where are they going to rebuild?” Decter Hirst said. “Everyone in Brandon is watching to see the trees and whether they’re going to bud out, what trees drowned and will have to be taken out.”
But the restoration will not happen overnight. Snure expects the improvements will happen over a three- or four-year period.
The other problem area during the flood was the Hilton Lift Station. Snure said they have permanently sealed the manhole that created problems.
“That piece is 100 per cent fixed,” he said. “So we’re not concerned with that particular location … But we still have to do a further review.”