Rocky View County councillors vote to oppose controversial Springbank reservoir project
Councillors in Rocky View County met on Tuesday to discuss the Springbank Off- Stream Reservoir project and and voted in favour of formally opposing the plan.
The province's Springbank dam project is a dry reservoir that will be used to temporarily store water during a flood.
The site is located near Springbank Road, about 15 km west of Calgary, and will have the ability to store water volumes equal to the 2013 flood.
If a flood happens, the reservoir will be fed by a diversion channel from the Elbow River and once the water level peaks, a safety release will let the water back into the river at a controlled rate.
The reservoir has a storage capacity equal to 28,000 Olympic sized swimming pools and will work with the Glenmore Reservoir to provide flood protection.
The scope of the project covers about 3,870 acres including roads, structures and a buffer zone and will cost $432 million.
The province has collected feedback from residents but the project still faces some opposition from rural landowners who have expressed concerns about being displaced. There are also concerns that only a handful of communities in Calgary would be protected in the event of a flood.
On Tuesday, councillors in Rocky View County heard from people for and against the project. Just after noon, council voted to officially oppose the plan and will ask the province to halt the project.
Chief Lee Crownchild of the Tsuut’ina Nation released a statement following the vote saying…
“I have been briefed on the debate that occurred today at Rocky View council on the Springbank dam issue. I am also aware that a motion has been passed to not support the dry dam, to ask the province to halt work and to do a proper comparison of alternative flood mitigation measures. I want to thank Reeve Greg Boehlke and his Council for what was reported as a discussion that referenced Tsuut’ina’s needs and interests frequently and with respect. Also, credit to Richard Barss, Rocky View’s Manager of Intergovernmental Affairs for a report on the impacts of SR1 that is one of the most comprehensive reports I have yet seen.
The proposed Springbank dry dam is a simply massive project, with immense implications for ground water, air and the health of the river. While flood mitigation for Calgary is absolutely necessary, there are alternatives. And those should be carefully explored before we build.”
Alberta’s Minister of Transportation also commented on the project and in a statement said …
"The SR1 project is vital to protecting the economic engine of the province and the 1.2 million Calgarians and other Albertans living downstream, and would require the GoA acquire land from as many as 22 landowners in Springbank. SR1 is one piece of the flood mitigation system for Elbow River communities, including projects for Bragg Creek and Redwood Meadows for Tsuut'ina Nation.
The project is in regulatory review, which includes the opportunity for stakeholders, the public and municipalities to address their concerns and support with both the federal and provincial regulators. Any change in strategy at this point would mean starting over in a process that has already taken five years, further risking the health, safety and economic wellbeing of Albertans."
Alberta Transportation is leading the project and hopes to have shovels in the group before the end of 2019. The project is slated for completion in late 2022.
For more information on the Springbank Off-Stream Reservoir project, click HERE.