Sunnyside attended a meeting Wednesday night to talk about what to do if the northwest community floods again.
City officials told residents they have made improvements to flood gates on the Bow River. Those gates were blamed for a second round of flooding in early July by residents who say workers didn't arrive in time to manually open them.
Officials said last night the gates will be automated by spring and will only be closed in the future to keep river water from backing up into the city's water system.
“We've got a lot of work to do. We've certainly addressed the first concern which were the gates. But there's a lot of work that needs to be done throughout the city,” said Coun. Druh Farrell.
Homes in Sunnyside were some of the hardest hit in last June’s flooding. Many people had to throw away a lifetime of belongings.
- A quick history of Calgary floods
- SPECIAL REPORT | Alberta floods 2013
- Alberta floods costliest natural disaster in Canadian history
- TIMELINE | The first 48 hours
"Just despair and hopelessness about what's going to happen,” said resident Gloria Mak. Like many.
She is afraid of what’s coming this spring.
“What will happen. What the government will do, what the city will do to prevent this disaster from happening again in the future."
Mak and others attended a Bow River Basin council meeting earlier Wednesday ahead of the mitigation meeting to gain more insight on local and provincial flood mitigation plans.
Preparing for Mother Nature
Mark Bennett, executive director of the Bow River Basin council, said they won’t be caught as off-guard as they were in June.
“Mother Nature has a tendency to always have one more surprise up her sleeve. In my past in emergency management I never felt comfortable that we were on top of anything,” he said.
Farrell says city officials are doing everything they can to prepare for a potential flood.
"Another flood could happen this spring. There's no question. And we have been recovering but we haven't finished the mitigation. That will be billions of dollars and require major work," she said.
"The reassuring thing is that council is prepared to spend the dollars. And we've heard from the province that they're willing to share the responsibility as well."
Resident Mike Bradfield and his partner have lived in Sunnyside for decades and say they're not confident the city will be ready.
"Since July we spent the first six months repairing our basement. And basically since January we've worked full time on this,” said resident Mike Bradfield.
The work includes attending flood mitigation meetings, meeting with neighbours, the city, water services and basically talking to whoever will listen, he said.