What about flood mitigation?
Posted on April 30, 2015 by Greg Clark
The silence from the PCs has been deafening
During this election, the PCs have been strangely silent about their plans for flood mitigation. Other than announcing that they are proceeding with the Springbank Dry Dam, which I support, we have heard nothing about the other upstream mitigation projects on the Elbow River (the Glenmore Diversion Tunnel and McLean Creek) and virtually nothing about protecting residents on the Bow.
Even their own officials are evasive when asked direct questions about the Glenmore Diversion Tunnel, including Emma Grace May:
I am still not sure how protecting Calgary’s river communities and over hundred thousand jobs in downtown Calgary “offers no benefit”.
Why flood mitigation matters
The 2013 flood devastated the lives of thousands of our fellow citizens, many of whom are still struggling with the flawed Disaster Relief Program as they are trying to rebuild their homes. But as bad as the 2013 flood was, it could have been a lot worse.
A future flood is not just a threat to the residents who live in our river communities, its also a threat to the more than 150,000 people who work in downtown Calgary, which is one of Canada’s economic engines. If downtown Calgary had been hit harder in 2013 (and we’re lucky it wasn’t; if the rain in the mountains hadn’t turned to snowfall downtown Calgary would have been devastated), hundreds of businesses may have been forced to relocate. With today’s technology, head office jobs can be anywhere - Toronto, Houston or London. The reason those jobs are here is because Calgary is a desirable place to live and we have a safe and stable business core. If downtown Calgary is wiped out, its likely that many of those businesses - and jobs - would never come back.
The PCs are behind schedule on the Springbank Dam
The PCs identified Springbank Dry Dam as the only option the government would be pursuing despite studies showing that the Springbank project alone is insufficient to protect Calgary and at-risk river communities. Additional mitigation is essential.
Construction on Springbank has not even begun. The PCs even missed the recent deadline to complete the required environmental impact assessment in time for the next construction season. These unnecessary delays are putting the lives of Albertans and the 159,000 jobs in downtown Calgary at risk.
And there is still no decision on the Glenmore Diversion Tunnel
Even though a City of Calgary study concluded that the Glenmore Diversion Tunnel is feasible back in July 2014, the PCs have still won’t say if they will build it, leaving Calgary’s downtown at risk.
The Alberta Party has a better way.
We will fight to ensure that the government builds the flood mitigation needed to protect our river communities and downtown Calgary. We would:
1. Fast track the Springbank Dry Dam.
We will push the government to speed up all the pre-construction work required to build the Springbank Dry Dam so we don’t miss another flood season.
2. Build the Glenmore Diversion Tunnel and / or McLean Creek.
The Springbank Dry Dam project alone is insufficient to at-risk river communities and downtown Calgary. We believe the province must proceed with one of (or both) the Glenmore Diversion Tunnel and McLean Creek given the severity of the risk of a major flood destroying downtown Calgary, one of Canada’s economic engines.
3. Develop a strategy for the Bow.
We need a comprehensive strategy for addressing flooding on the Bow, which should start with a long-term agreement with TransAlta to use their hydroelectric infrastructure to mitigate floods, and also look at expanded flood mitigation infrastructure both upstream and inside Calgary city limits.
Alberta Party Leader
A Proven Flood Advocate
Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark, who lives in a flood affected community, understands that flood mitigation is an investment that will protect lives, homes and jobs. After helping his neighbours clean out their basements following the 2013 flood, Greg became a powerful advocate for Calgary’s flood affected communities. As a co-founder of the Calgary River Communities Action Group, he has worked tirelessly for the families who lost their homes during that terrible time.