CALGARY – Mayor Naheed Nenshi is speaking out in response to the premier’s flood mitigation commitment Friday.
He says the City’s flood experts weren’t consulted in what he calls “a significant departure from previous policy”.
“The premier, just yesterday, announced he would be treating municipalities as true partners,” says Nenshi. “We look forward to that.”
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The Glenmore Reservoir has been eliminated from the province’s flood diversion strategy.
Previously, provincial plans suggested the reservoir would play a key role both in flood and drought years.
According to Nenshi, the alternate Springbank reservoir “dry dam would not be used except during a flood and would not allow for comprehensive water management”.
Nenshi is also asking the province to share relevant engineering studies with the city. He’s skeptical in regards to claims the two projects would protect Calgary during 1-in-100 to 1-in-200 year flood events.
“The Government of Canada in a recent study indicated that 1:100 year standard is no longer appropriate,” says Nenshi.
“Calgary needs protection to a much higher level. Recent discussions with Provincial officials have been focused on mitigation at a significantly higher standard.”
See full release below:
STATEMENT FROM MAYOR NENSHI REGARDING THE FLOOD RECOVERY EFFORTS ANOUNCEMENT FROM PREMIER PRENTICE
We are pleased that the Premier has made flood recovery and mitigation a major priority, but we are surprised at the scope of the announcement, as it represents a significant departure from previous policy, and it was announced without prior discussion with the City’s flood experts or policy-makers. The Premier, just yesterday, announced he would be treating municipalities as true partners. We look forward to that.
We are pleased that the Premier announced that the government is tripling the number of appeal officers for the Disaster Recovery Program. This will make a real difference for the families affected by the flood. We hope that when processing these appeals, the Provincial government will address the legitimate concerns that have been raised by flood affected families and that their claims will be re-assessed properly, fairly and quickly.
Second, with respect to the two flood mitigation measures for Calgary that were announced by Premier Prentice today – namely the dry reservoir in Springbank and the direction to negotiate a permanent water management agreement with TransAlta – it is difficult for us to comment in detail since The City of Calgary has not yet been consulted with respect to either proposal and our experts have not yet seen any engineering studies.
However, we do have a few initial observations:
- The `room for the river` concept for the Springbank reservoir, while intriguing, has never been discussed with City officials. It represents a real departure from the previous plan, where the reservoir would have played a role in both flood and drought years. This dry dam would not be used except during a flood and would not allow for comprehensive water management, what the province had previously stated was their goal for this project.We are very interested to hear the Premier state that management of the existing TransAlta dams will offer 1:100 year flood protection and that the Springbank dry dam will offer 1:200 year flood protection. We will be asking Provincial officials to share their engineering studies that demonstrate that. Based on our research and analysis to date, we believe that at least two and maybe all three proposed large scale flood mitigation measures will be required (namely, Springbank, McLean Creek and the Glenmore Reservoir Tunnel). It is surprising that the Province would announce one project without having completed the analysis on the impact of the other two projects, since they all must be analyzed together. For example, using hypothetical numbers, it may be that the tunnel could be double the cost of the other projects but may mean that either or both other projects would no longer be needed. The cost-benefit analyses cannot stand alone.The Government of Canada in a recent study indicated that 1:100 year standard is no longer appropriate. Calgary needs protection to a much higher level. Recent discussions with Provincial officials have been focused on mitigation at a significantly higher standard.
The floods had a devastating impact on our community and it is very important that we make the right decisions with respect to flood mitigation projects. Teams from the City and the Province have been working very collaboratively under the previous two Premiers and we hope that continues under the “new management”.