The Town of High River received an Award of Merit on June 19 at the annual Building Resilience Conference in Calgary for the 2015 High River Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP), which instituted flood mitigation infrastructure throughout the downtown.
Since the Alberta floods, High River has constructed pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, naturalized parks, and green spaces, incorporating flood mitigation into existing pedestrian and cycling pathway systems for beautification and functionality.
Downtown High River land use design plan. Courtesy, Town of High River.
“The Town has invested a great deal in new infrastructure throughout High River, including completely redesigning the downtown core to be a walkable, people-focused area that is great for businesses, as well as for hosting special events like outdoor markets, parades, and festivals,” said High River Mayor Craig Snodgrass.
In addition to the new downtown, more than $100 million has been invested in flood mitigation to protect new and existing residents and businesses, making High River one of the most well-protected communities in Canada from flooding. Part of the ARP’s success in creating adaptive infrastructure was in elevating flood mitigation bylaws over other land use policies.
“We are sending the message to our residents and the rest of Canada that we committed to building a thriving community and High River is back and better than we ever were before,” said Snodgrass. “The town has changed for the better, and people should come out and see what has been done.”
The award for Planning Excellence in the category of Rural/Small Town Planning was presented to Khalid Mohammed, manager of planning and development services for High River. The conference for the Canadian Institute of Planners, in partnership with the Alberta Professional Planning Institute, also recognized the Town’s partner for the development of the Downtown ARP, O2 Planning + Design Inc.
The Town has used the mitigation theme to create a new Land Use Bylaw ensuring that current and future growth areas are safe and that hazard mitigation activities are consistent with the land use priorities and community vision.