"It's been one heck of a flood," said Paul Gilmore, Reeve for the R.M. of Montcalm. "I think we've seen a different flood from previous years which has caused more damage than we've seen in recent memory."
Gilmore's comments come as recovery and repair efforts get underway in the municipality.
"The water has taken forever to recede. It seems to be going down a bit better these days. And with the rains that we've had and the Colorado lows, it's been a heck of spring," he added.
Gilmore is grateful for all of the municipal staff that's been diligent and hard at work responding to inquiries and other needs.
So far, over 200 damaged sites have been identified in the R.M. of Montcalm.
"And I can't begin to tell you how many roads that includes, but it's a lot," said Gilmore. Contractors have already been hired to restore road access in some areas. "However, there are still the people that reside on the St. Mary's Road that were evacuated and remain evacuated." In total, it's about 20 residents.
Gilmore notes, the idea is that work will start on the St. Mary's Road repairs once crews have wrapped up work on PR 246 and PR 217. A long-term solution for the problem area is yet to be formulated, however, Gilmore says an engineering firm is currently working on a plan, and Council hopes to see documents in the coming weeks. In June 2020, then-Premier Brian Pallister committed to having the Province cover the total cost of a permanent solution for the road.
Meantime, the hope is to have all of the municipality's side roads repaired this year.
"There's an awful lot of damage and a lot of gravel on the gravel roads that have been washed away, and all of that replacing could take longer than we anticipate but travelling should be okay on those roads," said Gilmore.
The Reeve added, debris clean-up will also be a tremendous task but said restoring road access remains the top priority.
While Gilmore said it's difficult to put a figure on the total cost of damage sustained in the flood and the related repairs, he estimates it ranges between $2 million and $4 million. He noted, Montcalm has been approved for the Disaster Financial Assistance program. "It doesn't mean that they've approved all of our work to be done, but the program is approved for us so that's a positive."