Alberta commits $15M toward Calgary flood mitigation projects, but construction won't start yet

The province is giving Calgary $15 million for two major flood mitigation projects.

Projects aren't fully funded and province says more money will have to wait, or come from Ottawa

A flooded pathway underneath Calgary's Centre Street Bridge is seen in this file photo from June 2013. (CBC)

The province is giving Calgary $15 million toward two major flood mitigation projects.

The first will be a permanent concrete flood barrier on the Bow River to protect downtown, from the west Eau Claire flood barrier to Reconciliation Bridge.

The second is the installation of the Upper Plateau storm water drainage system in Hillhurst-Sunnyside, to protect from water backing up and flowing into the community. 

Both projects were announced last year shortly before the five-year anniversary of the 2013 flood that devastated Calgary.

They're in the preliminary design phase but are not yet fully funded. 

The province said it has set aside a cap of $150 million over 10 years for flood mitigation projects in Calgary, so further funding will either have to wait another year or come from another level of government.

Construction is expected to begin as early as next year. 

'Critical' work, says mayor

"It is critical, critical that we continue our work on flood mitigation both upstream and within the city, and that's really what we're talking about today," said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

"Today is yet another step in a very long journey of ensuring that our city is always resilient."

The $15 million comes from the Alberta Community Resilience Program, which is investing a total of $43 million in 15 flood mitigation projects across the province this year.

Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci said the government also remains committed to completing the Springbank dry reservoir, which would divert floodwater from a swollen Elbow River upstream before it could reach the city.

"I can tell you it's the best, the fastest and most cost-effective solution to protect the people of Calgary," Ceci said.

And he said an update about mitigation efforts on the Bow River will be coming soon.

With files from Scott Dippel

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