After years of fighting with the Alberta Government over who should pay for what, the Town of Drumheller has decided to bite the bullet on flood mitigation.
Monday night's council meeting saw councillors give first reading to a bylaw authorizing the town to borrow $516,000 to install berms and other flood control for East Midland and Newcastle and a further $497,400 for flood mitigation in Central Drumheller.
"We have made first reading of a borrowing bylaw, but that doesn't mean it's a commitment to actually borrow," cautioned Mayor Terry Yemen. "We are still going to be knocking on doors and still trying to find funding, and anytime through this process if we do find some funding we can step away from that borrowing bylaw."
He pointed out they could also take the money from municipal reserves, although a 25-30 year term at current interest rates is attractive.
It's the town's share of more than $6 million in local flood mitigation approved by the Alberta Government under a cost sharing agreement that sees the town pay 10 per cent of the first $3 million and 30 per cent of anything over that.
"We got this (provincial) money in 2016 and we've been dealing with the government ever since then," noted Yemen. "We still have to be dealing with the government because there's the question of ownership of the dikes."
"We still feel it's the province's responsibility if something were to happen," he elaborated. "The town is more than willing to do ordinary maintenance and that, but when you start looking at the damage that a flood could cost or something like that, the town does not want to take on that liability."
Yemen maintains they can't go ahead with detailed designs for the dikes until the ownership issue is settled. He hopes it doesn't drag on too long, but allows it will probably be fall of 2018 before any actual projects are completed.