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‘The government can do better’: Critics of Springbank Dam hold information session

Critics of the Springbank Dam held an information session on June 17, 2019.
Critics of the Springbank Dam held an information session on June 17, 2019. Tom Andriuk/Global News

There was a packed house during an information session in Bragg Creek on Monday for the proposed Springbank reservoir project.

Critics of the plan voiced their concerns about the contentious flood mitigation project west of Calgary.

“We think the government can do better than what they’ve proposed,” said Peggy Rupert, president of the Bragg Creek Community Association.

“There are some serious concerns with the design, and it doesn’t help the Bragg Creek residents, the Springbank residents or the residents of Tsuut’ina Nation.”

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Last month, the UCP government announced it was working to fast-track construction of the reservoir, which is currently under review from both the province and the feds — but that hasn’t stopped those who hope it won’t go ahead.

READ MORE: Alberta government moving Springbank reservoir project ahead with response to regulators

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“Our communities are starting to wrap our heads around what this project means for us, and we’re really unhappy with the project in its entirety,” said Karin Hunter with the Springbank Community Association. “We think it’s such a lost opportunity for true, true water management in terms of water security, drought, fire and flood for communities all the way up the Elbow River.”

Kevin Littlelight, a spokesperson for Tsuut’ina Nation, made it clear that the band is not against development.
Kevin Littlelight, a spokesperson for Tsuut’ina Nation, made it clear that the band is not against development. Tom Andriuk/Global News

Hunter said their voices have been dismissed over the past five years and she feels now is the time to be heard and do it right. It seems as though the project doesn’t make sense, she added.

“The more we learn about it, the more questions we have and the more skeptical we become that they’ve done enough work to understand and bring it to reality,” Hunter said.

“Let’s take a pause, let’s ask ourselves: for almost a billion dollars, is this the best we can do for our tax dollars? The answer clearly is no. This is a one-trick pony. It only does flood mitigation and maybe not even as well as they would like.”

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READ MORE: UCP appoints lawyer in hopes of expediting construction of Springbank Dam

Kevin Littlelight, a spokesperson for Tsuut’ina Nation, made it clear that the band is not against development but is against this specific project.

“We are against Springbank Dam. We don’t consider a consultation as consent,” he said.

“We’ve never consented to the building of the Springbank Dam.”

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Littlelight said there are a lot of unknowns about flooding plains that the band could be exposed to.

“It doesn’t matter which government is in place; Tsuut’ina is always going to be against this dam,” Littlelight said. “Why not build in McLean Creek? It makes perfect sense.”

Global News reached out to the Alberta government but did not receive a response.