October 26, 2015 1:18 pm
Updated: October 26, 2015 8:14 pm

Alberta government announces $297M for flood prevention

WATCH ABOVE: The Alberta NDP says it will go ahead with a Springbank reservoir to protect Calgary from another massive flood. The mayor says it’s a good first step, but area ranchers say the government has broken a promise. Global’s Doug Vaessen reports.


CALGARY – Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips announced Monday which flood prevention projects the province has decided to pursue – and how much they will cost.

Phillips said the provincial government will spend $297 million on flood protection measures along the Elbow River, with the hope they will prevent the type of severe flooding seen in southern Alberta in 2013.

Projects announced include an off-stream reservoir in Springbank, the funding of flood mitigation specifically for the areas of Bragg Creek and Redwood Meadows and the creation of a group which will assess future flood prevention measures for the Bow River.

The Alberta government is also providing dedicated funding of $150 million over 10 years to the City of Calgary for local projects through the Alberta Community Resilience Program.

A flooded downtown Calgary is seen from a aerial view of the city Saturday, June 22, 2013. Many cite extreme weather events such as this as proof of climate change.


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“Building Alberta’s flood defenses will help protect families and businesses from a repeat of the devastation experienced in 2013, when more than $6 billion in damage was inflicted on our infrastructure and economy,” said Phillips.

“This investment will help safeguard our communities and economy against increasingly severe and frequent natural disasters.”

The decision to build the Springbank off-stream reservoir instead of pursuing a dam along McLean Creek was made after the province commissioned an independent review by Dutch research foundation Deltares.

“This is based on the Springbank off-stream reservoir’s close proximity to Calgary, a shorter delivery timeline, less risk during construction, lower estimated costs and greater cost certainty, and less environmental impact,” explained the province in a Monday news release.

Preliminary engineering work on the 70.2 million cubic metre reservoir is already underway. It will be located about 15 kilometres west of Calgary.

“The Springbank Off-stream Reservoir and the $150 million in provincial funding for additional mitigation along our rivers is a significant step forward,” said Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

– With files from Sarah Offin

A police car sits in the parking lot of a flooded apartment building in Calgary, Alta. on Friday, June 21, 2013.

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