Flood mitigation vital to Calgary, says WestJet founder

Calgary's reputation could be at risk if decisions aren't made soon on flood mitigation, WestJet founder and board chairman Clive Beddoe warns.

Clive Beddoe says the reputation of both the city and province are at risk

Clive Beddoe, chairman and co-founder of WestJet Airlines, says Calgary's reputation is at risk unless the city and the provincial government come up with significant flood-mitigation plans. (Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press)

Calgary's reputation could be at risk if decisions aren't made soon about flood mitigation, a prominent businessman says .

WestJet founder and board chairman Clive Beddoe said Tuesday he is angered and appalled at the lack of action from the City of Calgary and the provincial government on improving flood protection in Calgary.

Beddoe, whose house in Rideau Park suffered extensive flood damage last year, says political indecisiveness could threaten Calgary's attractiveness as a place to move to or to invest in if people and property aren't better protected.

Westjet founder Clive Beddoe shows how high the Elbow River went in his backyard last June. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

"This province was built by people who had the courage to do things, not to study stuff," Beddoe said. "We're constantly studying things. It sounds wonderful, but get doing things — get things done.

"If you try to hire people to come to Calgary … or even into Alberta, you want be able to stand up and say, 'You know, this is a city that looks after its people, no matter who they are and that they're safe to be able to move here,' Beddoe said.

Rick Valdarchi, the city's river flood mitigation program manager, says big flood-control projects are coming, but they won't happen overnight.

"There is a process that we have to go through before this infrastructure is completed," Valdarchi said. "I think the province has talked about three to five years."

The city plans to release a study on a diversion tunnel to drain floodwater from the Glenmore Reservoir into the Bow River within the next two weeks.