Alberta government investing $25M in flood defences
Published Friday, February 26, 2016 6:35AM MST
Last Updated Friday, February 26, 2016 12:57PM MST
Premier Rachel Notley says her government is contributing nearly $25M to help protect five communities and one First Nation from the threat of rising flood waters.
Of that money, $13M is expected to land in Calgary over the next two years to help build upgrades at the Bonnybrook Wastewater Treatment Plant, a main battleground during the 2013 flooding, and raise the level of the river banks in the Eau Claire region to defend against rising waters.
"The 2013 floods brought out the best in Albertans and now the best the government can do is reduce the threat of future flooding," Notley said on Friday. "Nature is unpredictable and we can never assume we've tamed its raw power. We can only try and channel it in another direction."
The NDP's plan will send $8M in funding to the city this year, and over $3M next year.
When they're completed, the plant will have better protection than ever before, and the riverbank will be built up to the point to handle a 1 in 200 year flood level.
"The work that we're doing to protect all Albertans and our watershed from flood, as well as looking out for all of us in drought makes an enormous difference," Nenshi said on Friday.
The mayor says he can't wait for work to start on the projects in Calgary. "These two projects are examples of what I call brute force mitigation - community based mitgation work to protect people in direct proximity to the river."
Nenshi says that the flood resilency work at the Bonnybrook plant will coincide with the scheduled expansion of the facility and will help ensure the safety of the water for the communities downstream.
He says that the work on raising the river bank in Eau Claire also allows the city to increase pedestrian pathways.
"Flood resiliency remains the top priority for Calgary city council and, more than ever, particularly during this difficult fiscal climate, we need to move swiftly to keep people working, to provide the infrastructure people need, and to protect our communities from future damages."
In October 2015, the NDP announced $150M would be available for Calgary to use on several projects over the next decade. At the same time, $297M worth of confirmed projects was also announced, including an off-stream reservoir in Springbank, as well as mitigation in Bragg Creek and Redwood Meadows.
The money is coming from the Alberta Community Resilience Program.