Relief. That's how Ward 12 Coun. Joscelyne Landry-Altmann describes the feeling in her ward thanks to a $22.1 million flood mitigation and improvement project that will be undertaken along the Junction Creek watershed.
“This will change the way they live,” said Landry-Altmann, whose ward encompasses the Flour Mill, downtown and New Sudbury areas, which are often impacted by flooding.
“When they hear there are storms coming, they get ready. People that own properties in the area or who live in the area get ready for the worst.”
She said particularly problem-prone streets in her ward include Perreault, Dell and Clinton.
François-Philippe Champagne, federal minister of infrastructure and communities, was in Greater Sudbury on Wednesday to announce the province is kicking in about 40 per cent of the project's total, or $8.84 million.
The federal funds come from the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund.
“This morning is a crucial announcement, I would say, for the people of Sudbury,” said Champagne, speaking after a press conference also attended by a number of other politicians, including Mayor Brian Bigger, several city councillors and local MPs Paul Lefebvre and Marc Serré.
“This announcement will literally help to keep Sudbury above water.”
The balance of the project's costs will be shared between the City of Greater Sudbury and Conservation Sudbury.
Carl Jorgensen, general manager of Conservation Sudbury, said the $22.1 million will actually cover four different upgrades.
That includes upgrades to the Maley Dam, extending its lifespan to 100 years, and a Junction Creek box culvert that runs under the downtown.
“What they need is some ongoing TLC, for lack of a better term,” said Jorgensen, adding that these two projects are being undertaken by the conservation authority.
The City of Greater Sudbury plans to dredge an open section of Junction Creek that flows through the Flour Mill neighbourhood to prevent flooding.
It also plans to establish a temporary holding area for the Junction Creek watershed to be used during floods.
Jorgensen said the open area of Junction Creek in the Flour Mill has become “choked” with sediment and the banks have caved in over the years.
“There's lots of problems along it, and it's not conveying water the way that it normally should,” he said, adding that it needs dredging so that it can allieviate flooding.
Once complete, these projects will help protect more than 18,000 residents in Greater Sudbury from flooding, said a press release.
In extreme weather, if flooding does occur, it will allow the community to recover faster by protecting the integrity of drinking water and sewer services.
Jorgensen admits this type of infrastructure isn't exciting stuff, but it's important — it would only be noticed if it failed or caused problems.
“So we have to keep on top of these things,” he said.