Springbank Off-Stream Reservoir update
The Springbank Off-Stream Reservoir (SR1), a flood-mitigation project that, when completed, will protect Calgary from a 2013-level flood, is now under an expected one-year regulatory review.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) has informed the Government of Alberta that the project conforms to the agency’s guidelines. While the province awaits final regulatory approval, officials continue to do everything possible to prepare.
Construction will require three years, with the reservoir being functionally operational at a reduced level after two years. The project is expected to be partially complete by fall 2021 and fully complete by the end of 2022. This timeline represents a 10-month delay from previous project expectations.
Some delay is attributed to CEAA determining that the province’s original application required more information to conform to federal guidelines. This information was provided in March 2018. In April, CEAA determined the application conformed to its guidelines and began its one-year review. The Government of Alberta anticipates further supplementary information requests from provincial and federal regulators.
The focus of government is now squarely on acquiring the land for this project. Government officials are prepared to continue good faith negotiations with officials representing the remaining landowners. Government hopes to reach an agreement for the purchase of these lands from the owners in order to prevent the risk of further delays.
“The Government of Alberta recognizes the importance of the lands required for the Springbank Reservoir to the people who currently own it. It is our firm intention to deal equitably with these owners and offer fair compensation, and we remain hopeful that we will be able to negotiate an agreement. We do not want to expropriate this land, but we will do what is necessary to protect Calgarians. Springbank remains the best option to protect Calgary, including the downtown business district, the Calgary Zoo and the Stampede.”
Provincial officials continue to meet with First Nations leaders in the region as the project continues to move through approvals. The Government of Alberta has committed $8.9 million for additional flood mitigation for Redwood Meadows on Tsuut’ina lands.
In order to ensure these negotiations proceed productively and efficiently, the government has assembled a new legal team.
SR1 quick facts
- Project footprint - 3,870 acres (approximate).
- Operational completion date - for flood season of 2022.
- Full capacity completion date - for flood season 2023.
- 2013-level flood immediate damage estimate to Calgary without SR1 - $700 million.
- 84 official public engagement opportunities since 2014.
- Budget 2018 makes funding available to Tsuut’ina Nation for flood mitigation at Redwood Meadows.
- The Government of Alberta and the City of Calgary are partnering on seven flood mitigation projects in Calgary along the Elbow River alone, including infrastructure improvements to the Glenmore Reservoir, flood resiliency improvements to the new 9 Ave SE Bridge, stormwater outfall improvements, rain gardens and erosion control.
The Government of Alberta will host two information sessions to provide details to stakeholders and the public about the project and new timeline. These sessions will be held:
- Tuesday, May 22, 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. – Wild Wild West Event Centre - 67 Commercial Ct, Calgary
- Thursday, May 24, 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. – Calgary First Church of the Nazarene – 65 Richard Way SW, Calgary