Province announces funding for flood recovery in Calgary
The Alberta government is investing more money to improve flood resilience in Calgary and other communities in the province and flood mitigation is on the minds of many residents who are already dealing with spring flooding from the snowmelt.
Alberta’s Environment and Parks Minister Shannon Phillips and other officials were in Calgary on Tuesday and announced funding for new infrastructure and emergency preparedness.
“Our progress on these initiatives combined with additional investments that we are announcing here today will help ensure Calgary and the communities across the province are better prepared than ever for a flood event,” said Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks.
The province will dedicate close to $30 million for 20 flood mitigation projects in Alberta this year and officials say over $700 million has been spent on flood resiliency efforts since 2013.
$13.5 million has been approved for new Alberta Community Resilience Program grants, which will be used on three high-priority projects in Calgary, and another $10 million has been committed to emergency preparedness.
“The Insurance Bureau of Canada has said that water is the new fire and certainly that couldn’t be more true than in Calgary. Flood is our number one risk, it’s our number one problem and for anybody who has been flooded as I have been flooded, I can tell you that heavy rainfall always makes you nervous and even if you know you’re prepared it makes you nervous and so today, by announcing the $10 million we’re putting into communities around the province for emergency preparedness or flood preparedness, we’re able to take a more forward leaning stance,” said Tom Sampson, chief of Calgary Emergency Management Agency.
The city says it will use the funds to extend the downtown flood barrier, to replace the 9th Avenue bridge near Inglewood and on the upper plateau separation for the community of Hillhurst Sunnyside.
“A lot of good work has been done but we have a lot more to do,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “We’re prepared for flooding when it happens, we’re in a better, more resilient place than we were five years ago but flood preparedness is a joint responsibility and every single one of us as citizens and as Calgarians have a role to play. You have to make sure that you are ready, you have to make sure that your home is ready. We have to make sure that all of us are prepared for events as they happen.”
The province will also embark on a study to assess potential upstream storage options in the Bow River Basin.
Officials say water levels in the Bow River are already a bit higher than normal for this time of year and that the snowpack is up to 30 percent higher in some areas.
Experts say that the snowpack measurements are not a sign of potential flooding but that conditions could change depending on the amount of spring precipitation.
For more information on ‘Building a flood-resilient Calgary’ click HERE.