Mayor’s corner: A lot to be thankful for

Tyler Warman
Mayor of Slave Lake

It has been a pretty soggy few days recently. To say things have been tense would be an understatement.

We have seen some of the highest water level in recent memory and particularly in places that we have never seen water before. We did see moisture like this in 2011 following the fire. At that time hundreds of homes were affected.

Although there have been reports of some wet basements in town from sewer back-up, the number of homes affected is substantially different from 2011. Our friends in the MD were not as fortunate. There was an abundance of overland flooding and Marten Beach area was hit hard. Nine Mile, Mooney Creek and Eating Creek area also saw some incredible amounts of water. Once the waters recede there will be some work to do for sure.

Our neighbours will need some help and we will look to them for direction how best to help them out in their recovery.

Right now water levels are decreasing. Unless we see some significant amounts of water in a short period, we should be on the road to recovery ourselves. We still have tank trucks doing some work throughout affected areas as our lift stations have been at capacity for the last 24 hours. One of the biggest issues for the Region at this point is the highway closure north of town. A culvert washed away and a chunk of the highway has disappeared.

Alberta Transportation is working on a plan to repair as quickly as possible, but it will take some time. Keep an eye on our website and social media for up to date information, as it becomes available.

Looking back on the last 48 hours in the Slave Lake Region, I want to give some mentions and thanks, and trust me there is a lot to be thankful for.

Most of our staff worked for close to 36 hours straight, never complaining and dedicated to doing whatever it took to try and get ahead of the water and reduce the impact.

Calvin, Dean and our operations team and the contractors that came in to help were outstanding. The Fire Department led by Chief Coutts took a lead role in dealing with numerous issues throughout the Region. They are a great group who were generously supported by RCMP, Forestry and Search and Rescue who spent much of the night bagging sand.

Our admin team worked throughout the night at the firehall to co-ordinate, provide support, help get the resources where they needed to go and ensure our people were looked after.

Special shout out to Brian Vance our CAO who worked through the night, separated from his family in Widewater to stay in town and lead his team. I also want to thank Christopher Brown (our communications team) who pulled a 30-hour shift to provide constant updates throughout the night.

I also can’t forget to thank Terry Tonsi and his team at ATCO who are still working aggressively towards getting power restored to much of the Region. I also want to thank our MLA Danielle Larivee, who reached out to offer assistance. We will be looking to the province for financial support to deal with the heavy costs we incurred over the last few days.

I was also astounded by the co-ordination between the Town, MD and Sawridge First Nation to support and assist each other.

I particularly want thank you, the residents. Over the last 48 hours our crews and teams have been working around the clock to help and the outpouring of support and comments (via Facebook, Twitter, and through text messages), we received were fantastic.

I continue to be amazed by the strength and resilience of the people of this region. It is a great group of people to represent.

Hoping for comfy pillow tonight and some sunshine ahead.

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