Rocky View County Withdraws SR-1 Objections
May 13, 2020
Rocky View County Council has voted to withdraw its objections to seeing the Springbank Off-Stream Reservoir project proceed through the environmental and regulatory review processes.
In December of 2018, County Council voted to oppose the project commonly called SR-1, unless other flood mitigation options were subjected to a full analysis. Council agreed at their May 12, 2020 meeting to allow SR-1 to undergo the federal government’s Natural Resources Conservation Board review, and provincial regulatory processes without opposition from Rocky View County.
The decision came after the Province announced $196.3 million to help continue work on SR-1 over the next three years. With the province’s clear commitment to SR-1, Rocky View County will allow any concerns or issues over the project to be dealt with through the relevant approval processes.
December 12, 2018
Rocky View County Council Opposes SR-1
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.
November 20, 2017
Province Told to Resubmit Springbank Dam Environmental Assessment
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) has ruled that the Environmental Impact Statement provided by the Province of Alberta for the Springbank Dam project does not fully conform to the guidelines the CEAA provided in 2016. The Province will now be required to submit a revised Environmental Impact Statement if the project is to continue.
At this time, the Province has not indicated if or when they will submit a revised statement.
September 5, 2017
Many County residents are concerned about the Government of Alberta's Springbank Dam project, also known as SR1. Alberta Transportation is responsible for the project development, regulatory approvals, and construction. Alberta Environment and Parks hosts project information. For the latest details, visit the Alberta Environment and Parks website.
May 10, 2016
Public Input Sought on Proposed Springbank Reservoir
The Alberta government has announced that it is moving ahead with the Springbank Off-stream Reservoir (SR1) project. The Environmental Impact Assessment that is required before the project can proceed is currently underway.
The Province recently submitted the project description to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA), and the agency will now begin its review.
The CEAA has up to 45 days to review the document to determine if a federal environmental assessment is required. Part of that review is a public comment period. For more information about the CEAA’s role visit www.ceaa.gc.ca. For information on how you can put forward your comments visit http://www.ceaa.gc.ca/050/participation-eng.cfm?type=1.
Opportunities for public input on the need for a federal environmental review end on May 30, 2016.
March 24, 2016
County Continues to Seek Springbank Dam Information
Rocky View County Council continues to ask the Province for greater transparency on the Springbank Off-Stream Storage Reservoir Project (SR-1).
Earlier this month, County Reeve Greg Boehlke wrote to Premier Rachel Notley on behalf of Council requesting a complete and thorough cost-benefit analysis of the Springbank proposal. The letter also asked for a commitment that the approval, planning, and construction of any flood mitigation project be withheld until the County and community stakeholders are adequately consulted.
The move followed a presentation to a Council committee from concerned Springbank landowners questioning the accuracy of the province's information on the SR-1 project and outlining alternate solutions to Elbow River flooding. Reeve Boehlke's letter requested the province respond to the landowners' concerns, and asked for a public presentation before councillors on the province's plans.
"Rocky View County supports the efforts of the Alberta Government to diligently complete a robust flood mitigation risk analysis, Boehlke wrote. "Equally important, is the need for provincial departments to share information and engage in a more collaborative approach with the impacted communities to develop an appropriate and achievable flood mitigation strategy."
To date, the Province has not responded to the County's requests.