Staff work to shore up Saddledome ahead of flood season
CALGARY- The June flood wiped out irreplaceable memorabilia, drowned nine rows of seating and all but washed-out the lower level of the Saddledome. Now, a push is underway to get the arena shored up ahead of the next flood season.
Staff were busy retrofitting the loading bays of the arena where the Calgary Flames play with a protective wall, just in case water breaches the banks of the Elbow River again. The operations team designed it to be put up in just two hours—perfect for an emergency situation.
“This is flood prevention.” said Robert Blanchard, director of building operations. “We’ve got a series of posts with timber-lagging in between that will be covered in polyethylene and then it will have sandbags at the bottom. Any water that comes in over these berms or down the ramp will be prevented from going into the building, like it did last June.”
When the 2013 flood hit just weeks before the Calgary Stampede, it forced a number of concerts and events to be postponed. Insurance covered most of the repair costs, but the arena was unavailable until mid-September.
Blanchard says that’s top of mind, for everyone working at the arena.
“We’re coming up on the one year anniversary, and everybody is paranoid.”
The crew is now practicing how to put the wall up, and fine tuning its specifications. One wall will be placed in the shipping area, with another set to go up in the receiving docks.