Flood protection wall planned for Bowness up for discussion at city forum

The city is holding a meeting for Bowness residents on Tuesday night to talk about the barrier it's planning to build along the Bow River to protect residents from future floods.

Barrier to be built along Bow River between CPR line and Shouldice bridge

Resident Cody Chatfield walks through his neighbourhood of flooded homes in the community of Bowness after thousands were forced to flee in June 2013. The city is now planning to install a barrier along the river to better protect homes. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Residents of Bowness are being asked for input on a flood protection barrier the city plans to build in their community.

The city is holding a public meeting from 6-9 p.m. Tuesday at the Bowness Community Association (7904 43 Ave. N.W.) about the flood barrier, which is designed to protect low-lying parts of the northwest Calgary community against floodwater from the Bow River.

A presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Dozens of homes in the Bow Crescent area were heavily damaged by the 2013 flood.

The city is waiting for a decision from the provincial government on upstream mitigation projects for the Bow River, including possibly a new dam, which would help protect Calgary against future floods.

However, plans for the flood barrier are moving ahead.

A map showing where a proposed flood barrier will be built along the Bow River in the community of Bowness. (City of Calgary)

Coun. Ward Sutherland said city officials will be providing an update on the project at the meeting.

"It is going to happen. We are going to do it," said Sutherland.  "There will be a wall."

Design of wall still not known

The city will be seeking public input on the final design of the flood barrier, which has not been completed yet. That will likely determine the cost of the project.

"We have the responsibility to reduce the potential damage that the floods can do. The mitigation along the river has to occur," said Sutherland.

The wall will be built along the Bow River between the CPR line and the Shouldice bridge.

Homeowners will see the flood barrier rise between their houses and the river.

It's estimated it will be one to two metres high, and in places, it could be several metres across.

No big opposition expected

He said he's not anticipating a big push-back from the community on the project because it is needed for short-term flood protection for the low-lying area.

"They've all agreed that it's necessary," said Sutherland. "I think the majority agree we have to do this, but of course as an individual landowner, you're going to have certain concerns and those are going to have to be addressed."

Construction is currently projected to be done in the 2020 to 2024 timeframe.

Each year since the 2013 flood, the city has undertaken a number of flood mitigation projects.

Currently, the city is working on installing new steel gates on the Glenmore Dam, which would increase the amount of water that can be held back by the structure.

Construction on a new flood barrier by the Centre Street Bridge is also expected to get started this year, as well as repairing damage caused by the flood to dozens of stormwater outfalls along the city's rivers.