An inside look at Alberta’s flood response and recovery

December 20 marks the six month anniversary of the Alberta floods. Tony Ciarla from Tervita Corporation shares some of his insights on the flood recovery and response.

Post by: Jennifer Schultz, ECO Canada

December 20 marks the six-month anniversary of the Alberta floods. It was the most devastating natural disaster in Alberta’s history, impacting more than 100,000 Albertans in 30 communities. Nearly 1,000 kilometres of roads were closed and 14,500 homes were damaged.

Tervita Corporation and its dedicated sub-contractors responded to a number of significant incidences related to the June 2013 flooding.  Tony Ciarla, Director of Canadian Account Management shares some of his insights on the actions of Tervita and sub-contractors below.

Interview with Tony Ciarla, Director of Canadian Account Management, Tervita Corporation

Tony Ciarla is the Director of Account Management for Tervita Corporation for all of its Business Units in Canada. He has more than 17 years of environmental remediation, water treatment, and analytical laboratory experience with a background in Environmental Chemistry.

Tervita was heavily involved in Alberta’s flood response and recovery. What were some of the key projects that Tervita led?

Tervita’s flood recovery work covered a range of work scopes, geographies and timelines. Each project called for urgent remediation and restoration.

Key projects included the Calgary Stampede Grounds, the Scotia Bank Saddledome, various rail bridge and rail track restorations, and the continuing efforts of residential home, infrastructure, and in stream and river bank earthworks in High River, AB.

In your view, what are the major challenges that Alberta residents and businesses still face following the flood?

After any natural disaster of that magnitude there is significant recovery, rebuilding and restoration that need to take place. It has been estimated to take 10 years to rebuild after the damage of the 2013 floods in Southern Alberta.

In addition to rebuilding, a key priority is to put measures in place to reduce the risk of such damage in future. The Province has a number of large river bank restoration and flood mitigation projects planned to reduce flood risk and damage in future.

The second priority is getting our communities back to where residents can enjoy them and feel safe. Homeowners need to be able to return to their homes. These measures take time, but I’m confident as a community we will get there – that’s the Alberta spirit.

What strategies do you believe will work best to address these challenges?

Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration. In Alberta we are lucky that industry and government have the skills, expertise and tools to overcome these challenges. It is critical that industry experts work with the government to develop and execute work plans that get families back into their homes and reduce future flood risk.

Hindsight is 20/20. If we were able to anticipate the floods there are things that would have been done differently. The opportunity we have now is to take the lessons that were learned as a result of 2013 and implement upgrades and improvements to reduce future risk.

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