Springbank dry dam project still faces opposition from Alberta landowners
Landowners are vowing to continue their battle against the Springbank dam project west of Calgary.
The group Don’t Dam Springbank says it plans to provide more information to the NDP government as part of a provincial environmental assessment now underway.
It claims Albertans are being misled about the project.
“The tag line on it is that it’s fast, cheap and easy, and it’s not any of those,” landowner Lee Drewry said. “It’s not fast, it requires all the same environmental reviews; it’s not cheap, they have completely lowballed the price of this project, and that will be shown as part of this review. And it’s not easy because the government is trying to deal and we do not want to give up our land. We have had this land for hundreds of years.”
Premier Rachel Notley renewed her commitment to proceed with the project in February, but previously came under fire for reneging on her election promise to scrap it in the 2015 campaign.
The flood mitigation project will divert the Elbow River into the new storage reservoir in Springbank, located on top of Val Vista Ranch. It’s meant as part of an overall provincial flood mitigation strategy, following $6 billion in damage caused by widespread flooding in southern Alberta in June 2013.
A statement from the NDP government said the required Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is needed for various environmental regulatory processes, including federal components. It will look at issues such as air quality, noise, vegetation and wetlands, historical resources, traditional knowledge and traditional land use.
The provincial environmental assessment will take about a year; a federal assessment would follow that, adding another 12 to 24 months.
The government said in October its decision to build the Springbank reservoir instead of a dam along McLean Creek was made after the province commissioned an independent review by Dutch research foundation Deltares.
With files from Global’s Erika Tucker
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