Rocky View County Council Opposes SR-1
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Rocky View County Council has voted to formally oppose the Springbank Dry Reservoir project and ask the Province to conduct a full and comprehensive analysis of all the available options for flood mitigation.
The County strongly supports the need for flood mitigation in the Calgary region, but believes that other options to the Springbank Dry Reservoir (SR-1) have not been properly considered. A report from County Administration indicated that four other options to the SR-1 project, each with unique benefits, should be examined by the Province before final decisions on flood mitigation are made.
Alternate projects include initiatives at McLean Creek, Priddis, and the Tsuut'ina Nation, plus a comprehensive Room for the River approach that would spread flood mitigation among several projects and approaches throughout the region. The County’s report indicates these alternate projects did not undergo a thorough cost-benefit analysis, which skews comparisons to SR-1, particularly as the price tag for that option continues to grow.
The County’s report indicates other concerns with the overall approach to flood mitigation, including:
- The impacts of SR-1 in protecting Calgary are placed solely on Rocky View County, with no flood-mitigating benefits for the County or any other area municipality or First Nations land.
- Other options were not given the same level of technical evaluation as SR1, which resulted in the premature dismissal of other options.
- Other mitigation measures identified in the Alberta WaterSmart Room for the River report were not considered for implementation.
- The operational parameters of SR1 were changed, impacting how often water will be diverted into SR-1 and impacting downstream wetlands and ecological areas.
- The lack of consultation with both Rocky View County and the Tsuut'ina First Nation throughout the project.
The Province’s decision-making process was also drawn into question, as value-based decisions favouring SR-1 were made by technical experts without the input of impacted stakeholders and the public. For example:
- The need to mitigate droughts as well as floods was dismissed.
- The intrinsic value of agricultural lands was not considered.
- Recreation opportunities were not considered.
- The number of homeowners impacted was not a factor.
- It was inexplicably decided that having mitigation physically close to Calgary was more important than protecting a larger number of communities, including Calgary.
Throughout Council’s debate on the SR-1 report, councillors repeatedly emphasized the need for flood mitigation, and the importance of making the right decisions based on a comprehensive analysis of all the available approaches.
Council will write a letter to the Province of Alberta requesting that SR-1 and the four other leading options be thoroughly investigated and evaluated to ensure that the flood mitigation approach taken is the correct one for all Albertans.
Water & Utilities