Priority flood projects named by city committee

A Calgary city council committee is today discussing $15 million of flood resilience projects for this year.

Warning speakers on fire halls, emergency radio system among projects that made the list

A Calgary city council committee is today discussing $15 million of flood resilience projects for this year. 1:59

A Calgary city council committee is discussing $15 million of flood resilience projects for this year. These projects aim to protect city property from further damage caused by flood waters.

A much longer list was presented last week — but Mayor Naheed Nenshi asked for the list to be whittled down to projects that could start immediately.

Priority projects include:

  • Mobile command support vehicle for the Calgary Police Service.
  • Improving emergency radio systems.
  • Public warning speakers on all fire halls.
  • Steel doors for city parkades to protect against flooding.
  • Moving control systems for streetlights.
  • Flood-proofing city buildings.
  • Pathway improvements. 
  • Riverbank stabilization.
  • Moving utilities to higher ground.
  • Bridges at Inglewood bird sanctuary.

The money will come out of the city's savings accounts.

Last week the city committee submitted their $900 million wish list to the province. (CBC)

At $15 million, the immediate priorities are just a fraction of the $900 million in projects identified in a much lengthier list last week. That list was submitted to the province for funding. 

Nenshi says this whittled down list of projects will protect people and city assets while the province decides which bigger, longer term flood protection measures go ahead.

"Maybe that buys us an hour, maybe it buys us five hours, maybe it buys us three days, but it certainly gives us an opportunity to do a little bit more in terms of what I call brute force mitigation," said Nenshi.

Residents in some river communities are frustrated they're not hearing more about temporary berms or structures to protect their homes this year.

The head of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency, Bruce Burrell, says that's actually not their focus.

"The municipality is only charged with dealing with the protection of persons, not with the protection of property so our key role from an emergency management perspective is to make sure we protect people."

Burrell also warned flood protection will not be much different this year as compared to last.

Among the projects that did not make the immediate list are a new $12 million arrest processing unit for Calgary police, as well as a series of major, longer-term flood mitigation projects.

All big ticket flood-mitigation projects are being left to be funded by the province. 

The committee also decided Tuesday morning to forgive $90,000 in taxes for businesses that either temporarily or permanently shut down last year due to the flood. 

With files from Scott Dippel/CBC

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