Premier Jim Prentice says his government has green-lit two major projects for the Town of High River and the City of Calgary to protect both communities from future devastating flooding.

Prentice made the announcement during a news conference from the Bow Habitat Station in Calgary on Friday morning.

The two projects are:

  • A south diversion of the Highwood River
  • A dry reservoir in the Springbank area

Prentice says the diversion is the best way to protect the community of High River and the reservoir in Springbank will help to accommodate flood waters from the Elbow River that can threaten the City of Calgary.

He says the development of the two plans will occur as quickly as possible. They will, however first undergo an environmental assessment and a public consultation.

“The waters receded more than a year ago but for many Albertans last summer’s floods are far from over. Those directly affected by this disaster have told me they expect their government to act faster to help them feel safe in their communities and get on with their lives. We are responding with a comprehensive mitigation plan and more resources to meet Albertans’ needs,” said Prentice.

He says that the province will also be pursuing a long-term agreement with TransAlta to ensure the Ghost Reservoir will be able to accommodate flood waters when needed.

To assist those Albertans who are still struggling with flood recovery, Prentice says his government will be putting more support into the Disaster Recovery Program.

He says that staffing for this program will be tripled and hopes that all the outstanding appeals will be complete by December 2014.

“Flood-affected Albertans want to move on and put this disaster behind them. Increasing the number of appeals officers will significantly enhance our ability to respond to outstanding DRP applications to benefit those in need.”

Over 10,500 applications to the DRP have been made since June 2013.

Since then, over 8,000 have been closed and 677 are in the appeals process.

More information about flood recovery can be found on the Government of Alberta’s website.