Drone photo courtesy of Deb’s Greenhouse
by Colin Smith
Deb Foisy has received some unexpected but much appreciated help in dealing with snowmelt flooding at Deb’s Greenhouse.
Snow melting on the weekend flowed into the property on Highway 642 west of Morinville and by Sunday morning there were several inches of water in the yard and the greenhouse itself.
In response to the flooding, the County of Sturgeon did some pumping, then removed their equipment
On Wednesday a crew of workers from JPS Construction Group arrived with pumps, volunteering their time and equipment to deal with the water.
The company is in the area working on the Pembina Pipeline.
“They heard about it and decided to give us a hand,” said Foisy. “I thought it was really special.”
She said the crew managed to get the property pretty much dried out but were coming back as water was again rising in the parking lot, as of Thursday morning.
A representative of Alberta Transportation, which has jurisdiction over Highway 642, has apparently been by to survey the situation. Foisy, who said her dealings with the department in the past have been less than satisfactory.
“We really want to find a solution to this,” she said of what is an annual event. “I don’t know why it’s so difficult.”
According to a statement provided by Sturgeon County manager Sheila Moore on behalf of Mayor Alanna Hnatiw, County crews are busy pumping out water and clearing culverts to deal with drainage problems in several areas. Like the rest of the region.
“Sturgeon County has received a large amount of snowfall this winter; and we have hundreds of culverts along nearly 2,000 kilometres of roads.
We take a proactive approach to drainage; every year prior to spring thaw, crews start to clear problem areas, by defrosting culverts and clearing channels to improve drainage.”
Older drainage systems and low-lying areas in low-lying provide challenges.
“With frost still in the ground and the Sturgeon River cresting in a number of areas, we have limited solutions we can undertake as to where we can legally move water off of one property to another.”
Sturgeon County is in the process of developing a master drainage plan intended to evaluate existing drainage systems, recommendations for upgrades and support future growth. Its lot grading policy was recently adjusted in an effort to prevent future drainage issues.
“We’ve had several successes in historical areas where our plans and investments in drainage solutions have created significant improvement, but we have more work to do.”
The County is also advocating for provincial support for watershed master planning and infrastructure improvements across municipal boundaries.
“Solutions need to be coordinated across the province and have Alberta Environment and Alberta Transportation involved.”
Publisher’s Note: Article was updated Apr. 8 to correct an incorrect first name.