A relocated lift station, dike construction along Highway 110 and a new retention pond near the Assiniboine riverbank.
These are some of the permanent flood protection details announced Friday for the City of Brandon.
“Protecting our families, our homes and of course our green spaces is very important to all of us, as we move forward in these projects,” said Brandon-Souris Conservative MP Larry Maguire. “We do remember the devastating flood of 2011.”
Maguire said they want to make sure that if faced with the water levels of 2011 again, it does not impact the city to the same extent.
Maguire joined Mayor Shari Decter Hirst and Brandon East NDP MLA Drew Caldwell at the Riverbank Discovery Centre to discuss details of the tri-level project. As previously announced, $27 million will go toward Brandon’s flood protection upgrades, which was made possible due to cost savings on the Red River Floodway expansion project.
The federal government will provide up to $12.25 million through the Building Canada Fund, and the province will match that total. The City of Brandon will contribute $2.5 million to the project.
The flood protection enhancements build on new linear dike construction already completed along 18th Street North.
Improvements will be made to dikes in place on the north and south sides of the Assiniboine River to ensure structural integrity.
“When we did them back in 2011 it was really a rush to do it, and now we get the opportunity to go back and fix some of the side slopes,” said Patrick Pulak, the city’s director of engineering and water resources.
The dikes will be long and high enough to protect the at-risk areas to a one-in-300-year flood level.
A significant portion of the project cost will go to upgrading and relocating the lift station to the north side of the Assiniboine River. This is to ensure residents on the north side of the river are able to retain domestic sewer services in the event of flooding.
“The evacuation of the businesses and communities in the north end in 2011 was primarily a consequence of that lift station being overwhelmed,” Caldwell said. “So with the development of the Hilton lift station, that should be prevented in the future.”
Decter Hirst said the lift station portion of the project is the “most advantageous” piece of the new funding.
“It was the reason we had to evacuate so many people in the flats and frankly, the risk that all of the residences and commercial development on the North Hill take by not having a lift station on that side of the river,” she said. “It’ll be easier to sleep at night knowing that that facility is going to be in place.”
Dike construction is also planned for Highway 110 to protect the important transportation and access route.
However, some residents of the RM of Cornwallis are concerned about the impact the dike along 110 will have on their properties.
“In the event of another flood like 2011, it’ll raise the water artificially at several properties upstream of the 110,” Fred Driedger said.
The city will eliminate the majority of the storm sewer outfalls along Kirkcaldy Drive, which caused problems in 2011.
Pulak said the city plans to form a retention pond on the Riverbank grounds and a new outfall that will help in the event of a flood.
“In this region of the province, we’ve seen over 200 per cent of the average rain fall, and the new normal is far wetter than we’ve experienced in our lifetimes,” Caldwell said. “So this sort of investment is anticipating future climate change, and responding to what is going to be a wetter future, in western Manitoba.”
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