Tsuut’ina Chief Lee Crowchild and another staunch opponent of the Springbank Dam have penned an open letter asking Calgary’s mayor to join them in opposing the controversial flood mitigation project.
“Let’s not lose sight of the neighbourly spirit that got us all through the floods,” reads the letter, which was co-signed by the chair of the group Don’t Damn Springbank, John Robinson.
“No communities deserve to be damaged by the events of 2013, including Springbank. There are other options.”
Mayor Naheed Nenshi reaffirmed his support of the controversial project Wednesday afternoon, claiming Springbank Dam is the “best option on the table.”
“There is a small group of landowners who have consistently said that the needs of four or five landowners should outweigh the needs 1.2 million people in Calgary. I don’t buy that,” he said.
“If there are options that have hydrology behind them, that have science behind them and that won’t break the bank – we’re happy to look at them. But if it’s going to take 10 years to study them, I’m not interested.”
Crowchild and Robinson argue that construction on Sprinbank Dam “will not be fast, easy and cheap” as some proponents of the project have argued.
“It’s not easy: the wide-ranging and principled opposition to Springbank is growing. And it’s not fast: at this point, years after the flood, the project is far from reality,” the letter reads.
Crowchild has been an outspoken opponent of the project, claiming that the proposed dry dam would “directly impact the Tsuut’ina.”
He proposes a meeting at Tsuut’ina to review all of the options the Alberta government had proposed in the wake of the 2013 flood.
“We all share a desire for flood mitigation that protects the most Albertans for the dollars available. But that should protect all affected people, without dividing us.”
Nenshi said Wednesday he has already met with the chief in the past, adding that he is not opposed to discussing other options.
The letter comes just over a month after opponents of Springbank Dry Dam won an important legal battle, after a federal court judge ruled Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna would have to review the Springbank Dam herself before a decision on an environmental assessment is made.