Green Party of Alberta response to Question 3

Question:  What measures will you take to help ensure citizens are protected from future flood events along the Bow River?

Question:  What is your opinion on the proposed flood mitigation options for the Elbow River:
  1. Glenmore Reservoir Diversion Tunnel;
  2. The McLean Creek dry dam;
  3. The Springbank off-stream diversion and storage site and do you favour this project as a dry dam only or as a permanent reservoir?
Detail can be found here: http://www.calgary.ca/UEP/Water/Pages/Flooding-and-sewer-back-ups/Flood-Mitigation-Panel/Elbow-River-Flood-Mitigation-Options.aspx

Answer:  This is a complex matter which needs much further, expert study. Large amounts of money should not be spent until there is a more complete understanding of the causes of the 2013 flood and the interaction among those causes. Our understanding is that there has been no such comprehensive explanation yet given of what happened in 2013.

Greens understand the nervousness on this matter – we lived through and were also harmed by the 2013 flood. But until there is adequate understanding of its cause and there has been a full upstream and watershed management prevention and mitigation plan put in place, it is irresponsible to spend huge amounts of money on intrusive engineering projects that may make matters worse, rather than better, and may unjustifiably assist some Albertans more than others.

Greens believe in solutions respecting topographical, hydrological and ecological characteristics. Integrated river basin planning and management seem to us more important than heroic and expensive engineering structures. Natural areas upstream should be managed to maximize water retention, i.e., forests and wetlands must be preserved and paving and channelization would be minimized. On this latter point, Greens would expect cities such as Calgary to carefully review its by-laws so as to require the use of absorptive surfaces and other un-intrusive, flood minimization measures. Greens would also be supportive of provincial laws requiring municipalities to take these flood-minimization and other sustainability steps.

Future flooding is unavoidable and aggressive attempts need to be made to remove and relocate endangered structures in the 200 year flood plain. It is obviously impractical to move downtown Calgary, but threatened buildings must be flood-proofed wherever possible.


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