City approves rehabilitation contract for priority repairs to eroded creek bank

The spring flood caused significant creek bank failure along River Drive in a Swift Current neighbourhood.

By Matthew Liebenberg

   Funding from the City of Swift Current’s annual creek bank rehabilitation program will be used to do priority repairs to a section of creek bank where significant erosion may potentially have an impact on nearby infrastructure.

    The high and fast flowing water during the spring flood caused creek bank failure along River Drive on the city’s south side near the roadway and a sewage lift station.

   The City’s request for proposals for the 2023 creek bank rehabilitation was sent out before the spring flood, but the priority work area was revised as a result of the impact of the flood water on the creek bank along River Drive.

   “After the high water this year washed that away, we need to get that dealt with right away,” City General Manager of Infrastructure and Operations Mitch Minken said. “So it was quite fortunate that we had a contractor in place. We were able to readjust the location and scope of the work and have them come in and do that one immediately. I believe that one is scheduled to start on July 10.”

   Council members approved the 2023 creek bank rehabilitation contract during a regular City council meeting, June 26.

The contract was awarded to Vitae Environmental Ltd. of Pincher Creek, Alberta for a total cost of $113,659.12 (10 per cent contingency and PST included, GST excluded).

   Five contractors submitted proposals, but three were over budget and they were not evaluated. Vitae Environmental Ltd. was the lowest priced of the two remaining proposals and it received the highest score during the evaluation of the bids.

The rehabilitation work will involve the excavation of failed slope material, the installation and compaction of new soil material, and the installation of geotextile fabric and rip rap (rock material) to stabilize the slope and prevent future erosion.

This is the typical process applied by the City for creek bank rehabilitation and it worked well in the past. Minken noted that previously rehabilitated areas along the creek withstood the impact of the recent spring flood.

“The best example of this is at the boardwalk near Regier Honda, where the rip rap was placed in those locations,” he said. “The high water went through and no damages seen. So that method is tried and true and once you make that repair, that’s a permanent repair.”

The Swift Current Creek meanders for about 14.5 kilometres through the city. The water level in the creek will vary due to rainfall events, snow melt and releases from Duncairn Dam.

The annual creek bank rehabilitation program identifies areas where erosion and creek bank failure might pose a safety concern and might impact on City infrastructure and private properties.

The City’s initial focus for creek bank rehabilitation in 2023 was supposed to be near Perth Drive and 13th Avenue SE, where the eroded area has become a hazard near the Chinook Pathway. This will not continue due to the priority given to the River Drive creek bank rehabilitation and a lack of funding to do the work at both areas.

“An alternative method has been developed to alleviate the hazard at the Perth Drive creek bank failure,” he said. “The pathway will be relocated a greater distance from the creek, removing the pathway from possible undermining due to sloughing of the creek bank.”

A section of the pathway will be moved about 20 metres away from the creek bank edge. This will be done later this year when other work is carried out on the completion of the City’s pathway extension project.

“We’ll do a permanent move of the pathway, but eventually we’re going to have to come back and shore up that bank in that place again or else it’ll erode away again,” he said.

The cost of the creek bank rehabilitation project along River Drive will be included in the City’s application to the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program (PDAP) for financial assistance due to damage caused by the spring flood.

The City is still waiting to hear if the PDAP application will be successful and therefore could not delay the start the creek bank rehabilitation at River Drive.

“The PDAP list included about 10 locations that we made application for after the high water,” he said. “It’s just this one is threatening the roadway and needs to be dealt with immediately. The rest are ones that need to be dealt with, but we have more time to be able to look at doing them later on.”

The total cost of the City’s application to PDAP is around $2 million for a variety of infrastructure damaged by the spring flood.

“We have submitted and we met with the consultant that’s working on behalf of the province,” he said. “We’ve submitted all the drawings and photos and actual drone footage to them via a shared drive. We have not heard any response on that at this point, but we expect from the meeting that we had with them, they said they would be back to do their own field inspections. So we expect that to be happening relatively soon.”

The spring flood caused significant creek bank failure along River Drive in a Swift Current neighbourhood.