City prepared for flooding as rain continues: CEMA Chief Sampson
CALGARY -- With up to 30 millimetres of rain expected Thursday and Friday, the city is prepared to deal with flooding, Calgary Emergency Management Agency Chief Tom Sampson said during a regular update.
And Calgarians are being asked to do their part by keeping storm drains clear of debris if possible.
"if you don't feel you can do that, give us a call at 311 and we'll come out and clean it off," said Sampson.
Rain spouts on houses should also be pointed away from the building to avoid water seeping into basements.
Parts of Confederation Park were underwater Thursday afternoon and rainfall is expected to continue into Friday.
"Believe it or not, that is not uncommon," said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. "In some ways, that park serves as a catchment for flash flooding, preventing it from going into streets and people's homes. It sounds funny to say but that's the park working as designed."
The Glenmore Reservoir is currently off-limits, said Sampson, as the water level has been lowered to accommodate rainfall. New gates installed mean it can handle up to 50 per cent more water.
Flood season in Alberta runs from May 15 to July 15.
City ready for restaurant relaunch
Bars, restaurants, cafes, hair salons and barbershops are preparing, once again, to reopen in Calgary on May 25 — along with the City of Brooks in southern Alberta.
"We've done lots of work and lots of preparation to make sure we're ready," said Nenshi. "The real critical thing we've been trying to do is to help businesses be ready to make their choice. They don't have to reopen but for some businesses, that is the right thing to do."
Nenshi said earlier this week that the May 25 date isn't likely to change, however the province is expected to make a formal announcement on Friday.
"Our best understanding from the province is that it's not an aspirational date, so unless something really horrible happens in the next few days, that is the date you will actually see restaurants and hair salons opening," he said on Tuesday.
The maximum size for outdoor gatherings has been increased to 50 people, while indoor gatherings continue to be capped at 15 people.
Last week, the Alberta government announced a relaunch of many businesses throughout the province for Phase 1 of its strategy. However, restaurants, pubs, cafes, hair salons and barbershops in Calgary and Brooks were left off the list.
"Now I'm sure that restaurants, after what happened last week, probably are not going to order a bunch of food until after they hear (Friday) so you may not see a whole bunch of them open on Monday. You may see some opening in the few days after that."
Officials cited the large number of cases in both centres, but promised that as long as they weren't any more large outbreaks, they would reopen as scheduled on May 25.
According to the Alberta Health website, there are 729 active cases of COVID-19 in Calgary and 65 active cases in Brooks. Eighty-three people have died from the illness in Calgary while seven have died in Brooks.
Text scam warning
Sampson also warned Calgarians about a text message scam going around that appears to offer $135.60 per month to Calgarians from the city.
"This is not from us, it's a scam," he said. "Please, please do not respond. The city doesn't use a hotmail account to communicate with you and our corporate website is Calgary.ca."
E-scooters returning Friday
E-scooters will return to downtown streets once again on Friday, but there will be some changes from last year's pilot program. The two companies operating will be limited to 150 scooters each, meaning there will be a cap of 300. There will also be slow speed zones, with a maximum of 15 kilometres per hour, in Mission, Kensington and Inglewood. Fines for riding in a reckless manner have been increased to $400 and there is a $75 fine for having a passenger.