Hearings got underway on Monday to determine whether four wetlands can be filled in to make way for the southwest Calgary ring road. 

A total of 24 wetlands, including the four in question, were slated to be filled in along the Elbow River as part of the construction. Permits remain in place for the remaining 20. 

"Alberta has to stop bulldozing and wiping out our wetlands, especially since we've already experienced 2013 flood and 2005 flooding," said Allie Tulick, one of two people who filed successful appeals against the work. 

"We can design roads to move around wetlands, go over water areas. We have bridges. We do it all the time."

Berm-style bridge

Currently, a berm-style bridge is planned to bring the ring road over the Elbow River and as part of the project the construction company was granted a permit to permanently fill in 24 wetlands. 

The design of the bridge is not in question during the hearings, despite the efforts of Tulick and her group, YYC Cares, to force a redesign.

Construction on the $1.42-billion project continues during the appeal process. 

3 possible outcomes

EAB spokesman Gilbert Van Nes says there are three possible outcomes from the hearings.

"That the approval here be confirmed, which means everything's fine; reversed, which means we have to go back to the drawing board; or varied, which means the board will make changes to the approval that would allow the project to proceed," he said. 

The board expects to issue a decision within 20 days.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story said the hearings would determine the design of a bridge over the Elbow River. The hearings only impact the filling-in of four wetlands as part of construction.
    Oct 23, 2017 8:01 PM MT
With files from Colleen Underwood