Flood proved Bragg Creek needs more access, locals say

The flood last month in Bragg Creek highlighted an access problem in the hamlet west of Calgary after people in one part of the community were left stranded.

People living on west side of hamlet got trapped when raging river blocked only route out

The flooding in Bragg Creek last month proved that the hamlet needs more routes in and out of the community, especially during emergencies, residents say. (Tara Weber/CBC)

Residents in Bragg Creek are highlighting what they say is an access problem in the hamlet west of Calgary after people in one part of the community were stranded in last month's flood.

The community was heavily damaged by floodwaters, which also cut off hundreds of people from help after a bridge was closed. Those residents of West Bragg Creek had no way of accessing the rest of the hamlet — and that has many worried about what could happen in another natural disaster.

"That bridge is the critical exit point for thousands of people," said resident Doug Sephton.

West Bragg Creek resident Doug Sephton said he and his neighbours became trapped during the flood when the only way out was impassable. (CBC)

For almost three days, Sephton and hundreds of others were trapped in West Bragg Creek.

The closed bridge was their only way of reaching the rest of the community.

Now that floodwaters have receded, residents say they're realizing how dangerous the situation could be in the event of something like a forest fire, and that they need to think ahead about how to deal with that.

"To allow a thousand and more people to get out of here in an orderly manner because it's going to be chaos when the big one hits," Sephton said.

One solution could be for the province to build more access roads, he said.

Residents voice concerns

Bragg Creek residents got their chance to voice their concerns to government officials at the province’s sixth flood recovery information session on Thursday night.

David Ardell, the water operations director with the Flood Recovery Task Force, told residents the province will be looking at many infrastructure upgrades as a result of the disaster.

"Right across the whole province we are doing the re-evaluation of all of that and there will be some prioritization of the infrastructure amounts," he said.

"I expect if the residents of Bragg Creek are looking for that they would be putting forward that request."

Concerned residents might also have to bring the access issue to the attention of Rocky View County officials, he said.

Redwood Meadows looks for answers

Nearby residents of Redwood Meadows also say they are not getting the answers they need quickly enough.

Many who attended the meeting Thursday night said they are concerned about the accuracy of provincial flood maps.

They also want answers on how to go about flood mitigation work as the area has not been mapped for flood hazards yet because it is on land owned by Tsuu T'ina First Nation.

"We're a month past now and nobody seems to have those answers and meantime, you know, businesses are reopening, people aren't getting back to their homes, and I think you sensed the frustration in that room tonight, and it's understandable," said area MLA Bruce McAllister.

He says people in Redwood Meadows don't know what to do and want answers on how to move forward.

Provincial officials have said they intend to work with the federal government to get the mapping done.