The Tsuut’ina First Nation is withholding consent for the Springbank dry dam, a key flood mitigation proposal in southern Alberta.
Chief Lee Crowchild voiced his frustration in a press release Wednesday morning over government handling of the plan. He said the nation has heard through a third party that in the event of a flood, the proposed Springbank dry dam “would directly impact Tsuut’ina, especially in the Redwood Meadows community.”
Chief Crowchild said in the wake of the 2013 flood disaster, government action on flood mitigation is a necessity, but Tsuut’ina believes the Maclean Creek reservoir is the better proposal.
The NDP supports the Springbank dam proposal, despite campaigning against the plan in the 2015 Alberta election.
Crowchild said the plan includes a diversion gate less than half a kilometer from Tsuut’ina.
“When the provincial government plans to undertake a major project near a First Nation, there is a legal obligation to assess the potential impacts on First Nation lands,” Crowchild said in the statement.
“It is with some frustration that I must report that Tsuut’ina has not been consulted on the dry dam.”
“Further, given that the dam is likely to have direct negative impact on Tsuut’ina, especially to treaty protected water, it is our position that more than consultation is required. Our position is that Tsuut’ina must give consent for this project to proceed. Tsuut’ina does not give that consent.”
Chief Crowchild goes on to say that if the NDP government is really committed to the rights of indigenous peoples, it needs to have consent for actions that impact Tsuut’ina lands.
The nation believes the Maclean Creek reservoir proposal is superior and that it would protect not just Calgary, but also Bragg Creek and Redwood Meadows with less negative impact on people and the environment.
The Springbank dam proposal is currently undergoing an environmental assessment.