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Council votes to look into Amphibex program, seeks funding from government

The Keyano College campus in downtown Fort McMurray is shown on Tuesday, April 28, 2020. All mandatory evacuation orders have been lifted in Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo after a massive ice jam caused flooding and forced about 13,000 people out of their homes.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Halinda

Council has wrapped up several days of discussion and debate surrounding flood mitigation.

It voted Monday to seek flood mitigation funding from both the provincial and federal government and will send letters and conduct a strategic advocacy campaign to both governments advocating for assistance.

Administration is expected to report back to council during the quarterly financial report with a buyout impact assessment, financial report, and updated planning and infrastructure recommendations.

Council also voted to have administration look into whether using equipment, such as the Amphibex program is recommended for the municipality.

The Amphibex program is an ice-breaking machine used to clear river ice jams in Manitoba.

That report will be presented to council in June 2021.

Within the next 30 days, administration is expected to arrange a meeting between council and the Oilsands Community Alliance (OSCA) to discuss possible contributions that can be made by industry to address flood mitigation projects to protect the community.

The Flood Recovery Response Bylaw will also be extended allowing for refunds of permit fees for work done in the Mandatory Flood Evacuation Zone.

Permits purchased after Aug. 31 will be refunded at the request of the applicant.

Deputy CAO Matthew Hough said work is underway on temporary flood mitigation efforts for next spring and on berms for Taiga Nova, downtown, Longboat Landing and Waterways.