Contentious Springbank dam stirs up debate at Calgary flood mitigation meeting

Flood mitigation the focus of Tuesday meeting
WATCH: A meeting by the Calgary River Communities Action Group at Dicken’s Pub on Tuesday was packed by people looking for information on what's being done to prevent future flooding. Doug Vaessen has details.

A meeting by the Calgary River Communities Action Group (CRCAG) at Dicken’s Pub on Tuesday was packed with people looking for information on what’s being done to prevent future flooding.

Representatives from the federal, provincial and municipal governments attended the meeting, which focused on what would be done to protect communities impacted by flooding in 2005 and 2013.

“It’s very important that we get flood mitigation done here in this city,” Calgary Centre MP Kent Hehr said. “We went through a devastating flood in 2013 that our city needs to protect against.”

Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark said the event was a “room full of passionate people.”

“It is always a remarkable day when you get the mayor, you get a provincial cabinet minister, you get a federal cabinet minister – all attending a community event. I think it says that flood mitigation is really important.”

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Many attendees used the meeting to voice their concern over the proposed Springbank off-stream reservoir, often referred to as the Springbank dam.

The dam would be located about 15 kilometres west of Calgary near Springbank Road, north of the Elbow River. In the event of a flood, the dam would temporarily store up to 70.2 million cubic metres of water.

Kevin Littlelight, public relations for the TsuuT’ina First Nation, said they are supportive of flood mitigation efforts, but are opposed to the reservoir.

“The TsuuT’ina nation continues to be ignored,” Littlelight said. “We put [out] an eight-page letter to the federal government and the province … we’ve never had a response from it. And that’s alarming.”

“Water is life,” Littlelight added. “And it looks like it can affect our waters.”

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“What I’ll tell you is aboriginal people can slow down projects in our certain ways – when you’re affecting our environment.”

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Instead of the Springbank dam, the TsuuT’ina First Nation is pushing for the construction of a dry dam at McLean Creek.

Members of a group called Don’t Damn Springbank were also in attendance on Tuesday. They too are pushing for the Mclean Creek dam instead of the Springbank off-stream reservoir.