The province is promising $13.4 million for six projects meant to help Calgary weather another major flood like the one in 2013.
“Our future and our economic well-being will be directly affected by extreme weather. In Calgary that means we must be ready for dramatic swings in river flows,” Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said at a Wednesday press conference, adding that the money would help protect downtown Calgary and neighbouring communities. “Given that there are so many social, economic and environmental costs, we must adapt to this changing reality.”
The province will put $9.8 million toward two pump stations in Calgary’s Sunnyside neighbourhood, including a new flood-dedicated pump station.
“Put together with other projects on our priority list… we should be able to keep these low-lying areas with historical challenges with our drainage system, clean and safe and dry in flood events,” Mayor Naheed Nenshi said about the Sunnyside pump stations.
Another $1.7 million has been earmarked for flood resilience improvements to a sanitary lift station in Roxboro. The West Eau Claire flood barrier will receive another $740,000 and an additional $567,000 is for improvements to the Harvie Passage, which it’s hoped will protect the community of Inglewood, the Calgary Zoo and the Deerfoot LRT line.
“[The project] will allow Alberta environment to operate outfall gates that will prevent flooding on Deerfoot Trail and it will also provide river access for emergency services like police and fire,” Nenshi explained.
The City of Calgary will also receive $522,500 through the Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program for a soil bio-engineering demonstration site along the Bow River to illustrate how riverbanks can be stabilized using willows and other native plants.
“These projects hold back flood waters in our most vulnerable communities, they provide an important layer of protection for our homes and businesses, they ensure our riverbanks hold up when faced with extreme flows and debris, they keep roads and bridges accessible and our water safe to drink [and] more importantly these investments keep families safe,” Phillips said.
The minister said Alberta has invested more than $380 million in community-level flood-mitigation since the 2013 floods and that it has pledged $150-million to Calgary over the next 10 years.
SEE BELOW: A breakdown of the investments in city flood-mitigation projects.