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Council cautious over federal funding application

The city’s Governance and Priorities Committee Meeting is mulling over the decision to apply for the federal government’s Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF). The DMAF is meant to help cities and communities protect themselves from natural disasters, like wildfires, storms or flooding.

Mayor Gerald Aalbers says that there is some caution in applying for the DMAF. Communities applying for the DMAF must present projects with costs of at least $20 million, but the DMAF will only supply up to 40 per cent of the costs. That stipulation makes for uncertain project funding, says Aalbers.

“If they come back and say we’re only going to give you five per cent, and we commit to a twenty million dollar project, that’s great that the federal government is contributing five per cent but the taxpayers will pick up the rest of it,” says Aalbers.

Concerns around how much the City would receive was felt around the council table, says Aalbers. He says there’s a big difference between 5 per cent and 40 per cent of $20 million, and that city hall’s budget is always a balancing act.

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“At the end of the day, we have to balance the future, and how far do we go ahead with the allocation of expenditures without seeing the whole budget?”

If the city applies for the DMAF, it may put the funding towards improving it’s Stormwater Master Plan, which helps manage drainage for the city.

Aalbers says that Lloydminster is still vulnerable to flooding from heavy rainfall events. He adds these types of rainfall events are becoming more common during the warmer months.

“When we get two to three inches of rain in twenty minutes, and we’ve seen it more than once in the last few years I’m afraid, it challenges our infrastructure,” says Aalbers. “When you have a challenge of infrastructure, it leads to flooding.”

Improvements to Lloydminster’s Stormwater Master Plan could take ten years to complete and are estimated to cost nearly $68 million.

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