Province starts assessment on Springbank Off-stream Reservoir
CTV Calgary Staff
Published Wednesday, March 23, 2016 5:43PM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 23, 2016 6:33PM MDT
It’s been almost three years since the devastating flood of 2013 and the province is moving ahead with the next step in a controversial flood protection plan.
An environmental assessment is about to begin for the Springbank Off-Steam Reservoir, which is a major project that would divert the Elbow River during flood events.
The proposed project is on private land and that has pitted landowners in the area against the residents of many Calgary communities who were impacted in 2013.
Landowners want to see the province pursue another location that is further upstream near McLean Creek but despite the impact on private rural land, the project is seen as a way to save thousands of homes and downtown buildings.
"The Springbank Off-stream Reservoir was identified by the PC government as the best option. The New Democratic government took a new look at it last year and they came to the same conclusion, it was the best option for the City of Calgary to protect us on that river,” said Brenda Leeds-Binder, Calgary River Communities Action Group.
Some residents in the area are upset over the plans and say the reservoir would flood land, displace some from their homes and cut into their livelihoods. They say they support flood mitigation but many don't feel this is the best choice.
The affected area starts at Highway 22 and Highway 8, near the roundabout that leads to Bragg Creek.
The Elbow River would be diverted in high water to the land north of the river and just south of the TransCanada Highway.
A number of the affected landowners have signed agreements with the province to allow access for the environmental work and say they did it to have some control over when and how their land is accessed and also because they really believe good environmental survey data will prove the reservoir is a bad idea.
"There are wildlife concerns, there are social concerns, there are a bunch of things that will be discovered when they do this environmental assessment, so let's do it and let's see what it says and let’s ensure that we do it fairly and certainly that's one of things we'll be doing is making sure this isn't done in a way that's kind of rigged to begin with," said Lee Drewry, Springbank Landowner.
Rocky View County has also voiced its opposition to the project.
For more information on the project, click HERE.
(With files from Bill Macfarlane)