The Calgary Stampede is about to start repairing flood damage to the banks of the Elbow River.

Besides fixing 400 metres of eroded riverbank and restoring fish habitat in the river before June, the Stampede will finish building a concrete flood wall to protect the south side of the racetrack.


At the height of the flooding, the Calgary Stampede Grandstand and Saddledome were filled with floodwater, begging many to question whether the annual event would go ahead as planned. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

The $5 million worth of projects will increase flood protection from the river, which runs along the Stampede's southern and eastern sides.

The water now rushes over new channels in the Elbow River but fallen trees and collapsed pathways remain.

Vice-president Warren Connell says plenty of damage could have been prevented if these projects had been in place before last June's flood.

"It would have significantly reduced the damage that Stampede Park sustained," he said. 

"I mean it sustained over $50 million in damage to the various facilities and to the racetrack and infield.... What my guess would be on what that damage would be, I don't know at this point, but I certainly do know it would have been significantly less."

The Stampede is also elevating the mechanical and electrical controls in all of its buildings to reduce damage if there's ever another flood.

"There's no guarantees of being flood-proof but ... we mitigate the potential for damage to the point where we don't look at last year where really a day or two would have made a difference in whether we had a Stampede," said Connell.

With files from CBC's Scott Dippel