RMWB Council heard from Downtown residents of Fort McMurray during a discussion on flood mitigation options.
Mayor and Councillors approved a motion to hold talks with Ptarmigan Court residents.
Council spoke about Downtown update the night of Sept. 16, 2020.
“THAT Administration continues with the Municipality’s approved structural flood mitigation project for Downtown, limit development below 250-meters, and introduce enhanced flood provisions in the Land Use Bylaw for development above 250-meters, and advocate on behalf of Downtown property owners to the Government of Alberta and Insurance Bureau of Canada.”
Alternatives include elevating structural mitigation to the 1:200 year flood level at 250.9-meters, which the RMWB estimates at $10.4-million.
Mayor Don Scott and the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce expressed interest in elevating mitigation.
Nick Sanders with YMM Chamber said the increase would bode well for the insurance market.
70% of properties Downtown are below 250m. 41% of these properties were impacted by the 2020 flood. 30% of properties Downtown are above 250m. 0.7% of these properties were impacted by the 2020 flood. #rmwb #ymm
— rmwoodbuffalo (@RMWoodBuffalo) September 17, 2020
Hough said many residents from the Hill Drive and Fitzsimmons Ave area believe sewer infrastructure failed.
They contend water backed up from culverts under Clearwater Drive.
Delegate John Foster, who lives on Hill Drive, said the RMWB should be liable for damages.
31 homes experienced extensive damage in the flood, some of which will be considered for a full rebuild.
Floodwater flowed through the underground sanitary system in the south end of Downtown.
From there, it emerged in the north part of the neighbourhood, in particular Hill Drive.
Several delegates from Downtown called asking for consideration from Council in flood mitigation, including seven written submissions.
Hough said Underground Services will install permanent valves or gates at outfalls for Downtown by the spring of 2021.
If the RMWB can’t make the deadline, crews will install temporary plugs in the remaining outlets.
Councillor Krista Balsom introduced a motion saying extending mitigation to the 200-year level is best.
“THAT Administration continues with the Municipality’s approved structural flood mitigation project for Downtown to a level of 1:200 (250.9-meters) by Oct. 15, 2022, limit development below 250-meters, and introduce enhanced flood provisions in the Land Use Bylaw for development above 250-meters, and advocate on behalf of Downtown property owners to the Government of Alberta and Insurance Bureau of Canada.”
A progress report will come back to the Council within 90 days.
Mayor Don Scott said the move will improve confidence in residents, businesses, and insurance companies.
RMWB Council voted unanimously in support of the motion.
Mayor Don Scott introduced another motion relating to backflow preventers and sandbags.
“THAT Administration be directed to bring forward a backflow preventer program, including estimating costs, similar to that of the City of Edmonton, within 90s days, [and] implement a sandbag program for residents and businesses of the Municipality affected by the 2020 Spring Flood to assist these residents and businesses in the event of future flooding events, [and] be directed to prepare, execute, and communicate a plan to mitigate the impact of any potential flooding until the protective infrastructure is complete.”
Councillor Verna Murphy asked the administration for costing for a sandbag program.
Hough said cost, as well as the number of sandbags for the prospective 2021 Flood, may return to Council.
Murphy contributed a friendly amendment the administration will bring back an estimate prior to implementation.
Mayor and Councillors voted unanimously in support of the motion.