BIBLE HILL – Three flood-prone areas within Truro and Colchester County will receive further mitigation work thanks to almost $280,000 in provincial funding.
“Here in the Colchester region, we’re supporting three projects,” Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Karen Casey said, in making the announcement at the Dalhousie University Agricultural Campus on Friday.
“The first will involve improving river flows and reducing sediment transport and bank erosion, along three locations of the North River,” she said.
A second site involves phase two of the Murray Siding project, which will see the water channel enhanced to improve the flow during flooding conditions as well as river bank stabilization to reduce erosion and sediment transfer.
The third aspect of the funding will see improvements made to the Salmon River to help reduce or eliminate flooding in the Park Street area of Truro.
The value of Friday’s announcement for the Truro and Colchester projects is $277,401 out of a total $344,275 in provincial funding announced by Casey for this year under the Flood Risk Infrastructure Program.
The other money will be used for projects in Lockeport, Amherst and the County of Cumberland.
“We’ve recognized that many of the issues associated with flooding require a strong partnership and a collaborative approach with municipal partners,” Casey said. “Recent flooding events have highlighted the importance of working with the municipalities to ensure that infrastructure is maintained and upgraded to accommodate our changing climate … .
“It’s the right thing to do.”
Following Casey’s announcement, Colchester County Mayor Bob Taylor told the small gathering of municipal and elected officials that while it has taken considerable time to open the communication channels between various government levels to put the flood relief funding in place, the co-operation that has been reached is what is required to help alleviate the problems that have long plagued residents and businesses located in low-lying areas.
“I could never understand, myself, why the federal and provincial governments could pay out two and three million dollars per disaster for disaster relief but never provided funding for flood mitigation,” he said.
Following the most recent major flood in 2012, Taylor said, the political mindset changed following a meeting with former NDP Premier Darrell Dexter that resulted in a flood mitigation focus group being established along with a five-year funding commitment.
The county and the Town of Truro had previously set up a joint flood advisory committee along with establishing annual financial budgets for flood mitigation. The Millbrook First Nation band council is also now a member of that committee.
“With this regional co-operation and the partnership with the province our approvals for funding are now in place,” said Taylor.
What has also been crucial to the overall effort is that permission was finally received from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for dredging work in the North and Salmon rivers.
“This is the first time in over 50 years that we’ve been able to get into the rivers to do what we’re doing and I think it’s great,” Taylor said. “These projects will go a long way in improving long-term flood management in the community and hopefully minimize damage and disruption of services due to flooding events.”
Truro Mayor Bill Mills also lauded the cooperation that has been created among the different political levels toward the area’s flood relief efforts.
And he also spoke of another project that resulted in the construction of a holding pond behind the Truro Elementary School.
“The idea being slowing down storm water. And certainly that is a big challenge,” he said.
Local flood relief efforts will also include ongoing monitoring of the area’s major waterways once the all the work has been completed.