July 17th, 2024

City ready to build more berms

By Collin Gallant on August 25, 2017.


cgallant@medicinehatnews.com
@CollinGallant

Construction of a permanent flood berm across Industrial Avenue will now proceed in two parts, city officials said this week, while also announcing the first portion will begin soon.

The remainder however, will have to follow later, as lingering delays in acquiring private land in the area are cleared up, municipal works general manager Dwight Brown told a city committee Wednesday.

The development and infrastructure committee had been told several times last spring that land arrangement talks were going forward as expected ahead of planned tendering in the summer.

After the update this week, including news of a contract award to begin construction, committee members asked about the apparent delay.

“We have to do our due diligence,” Brown told reporters. “You have to be comfortable with what you’re buying.

“There are no alarm bells going off but taxpayers expect us to be careful acquiring land, and it protects the property owners so there are no issues after the fact.”

Also on Wednesday the city awarded a contract to local firm MJB Enterprises to erect a berm from Lion’s Park to a point east of Medalta Potteries. A second contract to extend it south across Industrial Avenue and to the Canadian Pacific Railway’s main line could be awarded this fall, said Brown. The hope is for both projects to be complete by next summer.

Several property owners in the area did not return phone messages left by the News.

The berm represents the last major flood defence project to protect the River Flats Community, and the immediate area was hit hard during the 2013 flood. Businesses and residences from the nearby creeks to Bridge Street were flooded.

After the completion of the Lions Park berm in early 2016, the eventual plan is to extend that structure

See Medalta, Page A2

Now, the first portion will essentially extend the south end of the Lion’s Park Berm across city-owned land to a rail spur line running from the Medalta Potteries main site to the group’s I-XL brick factory.

Medalta’s acting executive director Aaron Nelson told the News his organization is pleased work is ready to begin.

“We’re extremely happy to see it move ahead,” said Nelson. “As the whole project nears completion we’ll feel very secure.”

The project is subject to about $5.5 million in grants with federal and provincial governments, which stipulate that berms must be constructed on public land.

The tender for the first portion was awarded on Wednesday to local firm MJB Enterprises for the amount of $1.23 million, the News has learned.

More details could be released when it is presented to council, likely Sept. 5.

The company previously did the berm work in lower Harlow, and is in the final stages of finishing Riverside berm built since late 2016.

In a general update to the committee, Brown said nearly four kilometres of berms are in place since the process began in 2015.

That puts 1,170 more residences behind permanent flood measures compared to 2013, when about 2,500 addresses were evacuated.

All but one of 37 planned storm sewer outfall replacements are in place, with the remaining shutoff included in the construction plan for Industrial Avenue berm.

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