Calgary

Alberta sends 8,000 pages of documents on Springbank reservoir to regulator

The Alberta government says it has cleared a major hurdle in its quest to build a major flood mitigation project on the Elbow River west of Calgary.

Transportation Minister Ric McIver says it's a 'significant step' in the regulatory process

Transportation Minister Ric McIver says the government has taken a 'significant step' in its quest to build the Springbank reservoir. (Mike Symington/CBC)

The Alberta government says it has cleared a major hurdle in its quest to build the Springbank reservoir.

According to Transportation Minister Ric McIver, the government passed along over 8,000 pages of documentation in response to federal regulator questions on the project. 

The Springbank reservoir would syphon water from the Elbow River and fill up a basin west of Calgary to protect the city in the event of a flood. 

"This is a complex infrastructure project that is going through a very intense regulatory review, and we are doing everything we can to complete that review as quickly as possible," said McIver on Friday. 

The project, seen by many as a critical flood-mitigation measure, has been controversial. 

Local landowners, municipalities and the Tsuut'ina Nation are opposed to the project, but three consecutive governments — two conservative and one NDP — have now determined it's the best option for protecting Calgary. Opponents suggest the McLean Creek dam project, which would be built on crown land, would be less expensive, and also offer protection for Bragg Creek, Redwood Meadows, Tsuut'ina Nation residents.

Consultation and construction

McIver said the UCP government is still consulting with landowners and the First Nation and will continue to do so throughout the project. 

But he also stressed that the government wants to see the reservoir built. 

"We care very much what [the Tsuut'ina] think. We have gone to considerable trouble and we will continue to go to trouble to hear what they have to say. The consultation process is not complete, in our mind," said McIver.

"Our goal is to alleviate their concerns. Hopefully completely, but if not completely, to the greatest degree possible, and be able to demonstrate to them that we care very much about their welfare and about having them know that they have been heard in a thoughtful and caring way as we go through this process."

McIver said construction on the project would last three years, but he couldn't give a timeline on the regulatory process, which he said was beyond the Alberta government's control. 

 

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