Potential impacts from a major flood in Calgary being reduced

Rising water floods the Bow River in downtown Calgary on June 21, 2013. .
Rising water floods the Bow River in downtown Calgary on June 21, 2013. . AFP PHOTO / ADAM KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images

The potential damaging impacts of a flood similar to 2013 in Calgary have been significantly reduced. That’s according to an annual update on flood resiliency and mitigation efforts undertaken in the past year and work anticipated for 2018.

City hall’s utilities and corporate services committee heard from Frank Frigo, the leader of the city’s watershed analysis on Wednesday.

READ MORE: Alberta pledges $13.4 million for flood-mitigation projects in Calgary

He said 15 of 27 recommendations made by an expert panel a few years ago have been completed.

“Approximately one third of the risk that Calgary faced in terms of the 2013 flood has now been alleviated by work that has already occurred or is ongoing in the city right now”

More work needs to be done to mitigate the risk of flood, especially when it comes to the Bow River, Frigo said. An upstream reservoir is required but he admits it’s a long way off.

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“The proposition of a dam would likely lie outside of a decade in terms of its actual operational completion date,” Frigo said. “However, it does appear to be one of the most important results measure that can be undertaken, and certainly one of the things that makes the most sense from a cost benefit perspective”

READ MORE: Tour of Calgary homes severely damaged in 2013 floods

In the meantime, Frigo said the city continues the work on the new gates at the Glenmore Dam, which will increase capacity at the reservoir. As well, the design phase is underway for permanent flood barriers for Sunnyside, Bowness, Inglewood and the downtown.

However there hasn’t been financial approval yet from the province which concerns Charlie Lund. He is chair of the infrastructure group of the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association emergency planning and response committee.

“They need to get started on it and I think we need to all pull together to try and convince the government that that’s an important thing for Calgary,” he said. “We certainly intend to do our part, we’ve already started writing some letters to the provincial government.”

READ MORE: Trudeau promises to beef up Calgary’s flood infrastructure

The 2013 flood is estimated to have cost nearly $6 billion in damages to areas across southern Alberta.