City looking into new flood prevention funding

Ward 4 Coun. Don Cody addresses council during a meeting on Sept. 18. Cody was one of six councillors to vote against a new flood plain bylaw. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Prince Albert may be able to access new provincial dollars for proactive flood mitigation programs.

Dustin Duncan, the minister responsible for the Water Security Agency (WSA), announced the new long-term flood mitigation program Wednesday. The program takes a proactive, preventative approach to help communities deal with long-term flood mitigation projects.

“Since the start of WSA’s Emergency Flood Damage Reduction Program in 2011, over 3,400 Saskatchewan clients have accessed $74 million to design and construct both temporary and permanent flood works,” Duncan said in a press release.

“Shifting away from an emergency flood mitigation program to a permanent program allows communities to undertake long-term flood mitigation, reducing the risk of flooding in future years.”

Each spring since 2011, the WSA has launched an emergency flood mitigation program to protect communities from flood damages. The program will now transition to the new reduction program, removing the emergency focus and looking towards long-term projects.

The new program will provide $1.5 million this year and accept proposals for structural projects, mitigation planning, floodplain mapping and hydrologic/hydraulic investigations to develop risk assessments. The program will cover costs incurred up to March 31, with WSA approval. Costs will be shared 50-50 between the WSA and the municipality.

“Every time there’s a new program that comes out, we look at it hard,” Dionne said.

“We’re still dealing with the one-in-500 (floodplain plan).”

The city voted last year to reject the one in 500 floodplain plan the province insisted the city adopt. The plan would have required flood mitigation for houses in the east flat that, councillors argued, would be expensive and would result in lower property values.