Alberta’s Springbank off-stream reservoir receives $187M in federal funding

Ryan Robinson's Val Vista Ranch, from a picture dated June 17, 2015. Global News

The Springbank off-stream reservoir project, a response to the 2013 flood in southern Alberta, is one step closer with funding from the federal government.

Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Francois-Phillipe Champagne, announced $168.5 million to go to the development of the project located 15 kilometers west of Calgary.

“We heard from citizens who have been impacted, community leaders who have told us that this is not just another project,” Champagne said Wednesday. “This is a life-saving project. This is about maintaining a community. This is about maintaining livelihoods. This is also about maintaining the core of Calgary.”

Construction is not slated to start until both a federal environmental assessment and Indigenous consultations have been completed.

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“Will we be able to satisfy Tsuut’ina’s concerns and answer all of their questions? I believe we will,” Alberta Minister of Transportation Brian Mason said. “Will we be able to purchase the land to build the project? I believe we will.”

The contentious off-steam reservoir is designed to work with the Glenmore Reservoir to hold the volume of water equal to the 2013 flood that devastated southern Alberta communities like Calgary, High River, Canmore and Okotoks.

The Springbank reservoir would hold 70.2 million cubic meters of water along with Glenmore’s 10 million.

WATCH BELOW: Provincial report says Springbank Dry Dam is best option to help prevent flooding

Click to play video: 'Provincial report says Springbank Dry Dam is best option to help prevent flooding'
Provincial report says Springbank Dry Dam is best option to help prevent flooding

On Jan. 29, the project moved closer to completion after the province acquired 188 hectares of land from the Robinson family needed for the project. The total project’s footprint is set to be about 1,566 hectares.

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“I expect that we’re going to have ongoing conversations and negotiations with the other landowners,” Mason said. “We don’t want to expropriate but I’ve made it clear that, if necessary, we will. We would much rather enter into a real, fair agreement to purchase the land on a voluntary basis with the landowners.

LISTEN: Minister Shannon Phillips joins Calgary Today to discuss the need for the Springbank off-stream reservoir

Mason said there is also work to be done on the Glenmore dam and reservoir to shore up flood protection for Calgary.

Funding for the off-stream reservoir project comes from Infrastructure Canada’s 10-year, $2-billion Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, earmarked to help Canadian communities to better weather natural hazards like floods, wildfires and droughts.


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