Armstrong permitted to dredge Meighan Creek

Province says yes, after two years of work by city, to dredge creek for flood mitigation

Two years of applications, letters, reports, phone calls and general red tape discussions have proven fruitful for the City of Armstrong.

The city, last week, received approval from the provincial Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development to dredge Meighan Creek to help with flood mitigation.

“It’s fantastic, unbelievable news,” said an excited Mayor Chris Pieper.

“We were finally able to make our way through the process, and that process has a lot of due diligence and a lot of work to meet the requirements.”

The city has been seeking approval to dredge the creek since the spring of 2017,where melting snowpack combined with unseasonably heavy rainfall led to a major flood issue.

RELATED: Creek ready for dredging

Flooding in the same area was repeated in 2018, though not to such a heavy extent as the previous year.

The city hopes to get a majority of dredging work done in February.

“We have to have an environmental engineer on-site at all times, and the process will go basically right from Askew’s (Foods) through to Patterson Avenue,” said Pieper. “There is certain criteria we have to meet but there’s work we can do as well.

“It will probably take most of February to do it. There’s a whole bunch of excavating guidelines we have to live by, and then we will have to replant, re-contour and re-vegetate the sides of the stream.”

The city recently tendered the work to perform the dredging and creek remediation, ensuring work can be completed prior to this year’s spring freshet. Arise Contracting Inc. is the successful bidder and is scheduled to begin Feb.11 with works to be completed by March 31.

Pieper said there will likely be no impacts to residents during the dredging. He also praised the work of city staff members Kevin Bertles, Lisa Gyorkos and Doug McKay for the work they’ve done over the past two years.

As part of the approval, the city has a flood mapping and risk assessment report in place. A public hearing on the report was held at the Oddfellows Hall and drew more than 70 people for the two-hour presentation.

“People who attended got to learn about hydrology of Meighan and Deep Creeks and the consequences of managing the creeks,” said Pieper. “Wherever you do something on the creek, you have a result somewhere else that might cause a problem.

“The report should really help in future planning of our community moving forward.”

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