The recent rain in central Alberta coupled with strong winds have devastated a lakefront community west of Edmonton.
Big waves from Alberta Beach have some properties nearly underwater, including that of longtime resident Mearle Armitstead.
“We had a very wicked storm with 40 or 50 mile-an-hour winds and as a result, the winds whipped up waves which came over our walls, which spilled water and muck out of the lake on top of our lawns.”
Strong winds and constant rain have forced Armitstead to put numerous sandbags around the house and piping to divert the water from entering the home. It’s a difficult job but one they are all too familiar with.
“In 2017 we had the very same thing [happen] but the lake was probably 12 to 17 inches lower,” Armitstead said.
Numerous homes along the shore are in desperate need of clean up, but the amount of work is too much for the local municipality.
“We get the same calls from the same people over and over, and [they say]: ‘What are you doing about it?’… We’re doing all we can,” Alberta Beach mayor Jim Benedict explained.
Benedict says the lake has been rising due to a clogged weir.
“Everybody thinks we have the magic pill that we can pull the plug out of the middle of the lake and drain it and take it down to a normal level, but all we can do is go talk to [residents] and show our empathy,” Benedict said.
The mayor says he has reached out to the province for help, and hopes that aid will come before it’s too late.
“We’ve lost about 60 feet of beachfront area. We don’t have a beach anymore.
“Alberta Beach is an Alberta park. Our beach is under water,” Benedict said.
As for Armitstead, all he can do at this point is continue to clean up.
“This is about the fifth time we’ve been through it. It’s uncomfortable but Mother Nature does what she wants to do and you just have to put up with it and clean it up when its finished.”