Tsuut'ina nation flags concerns over Bragg Creek flood mitigation
First Nation west of Calgary says planned berms on Elbow River could affect water quality
The Tsuut'ina nation has filed a statement of concern with Alberta Environment over planned berms along the Elbow River that will form part of the Bragg Creek Flood Mitigation Project being built by Rocky View County.
A study prepared for the First Nation west of Calgary says the berming could negatively impact the reserve — during both normal flows and flood events — and affect water quality at the Redwood Meadows treatment plant.
Spokesman Kevin Littlelight says the federal government needs to step in, and the First Nation wants to be consulted on the project.
"We want the best for our neighbours at all times, Bragg Creek especially," he said. "They're right there, we've been partners for a very long time. We want them to be safe. But someone else's safety doesn't mean the demise of your neighbour."
Littlelight says the Tsuut'ina Nation has not yet discussed their concerns with Rocky View County.
Officials there say they've always followed a "good neighbour" policy in their dealings with the many municipalities and First Nations peoples who share their borders.
In a statement, Rocky View County spokesman Grant Kasier said officials were only made aware of the Tsuut'ina concerns through media reports.
"We have been in contact with the Tsuut'ina and had planned to begin engagement sessions with them on April 30," he said in a statement.
"Until we have seen the documents filed by the Tsuut'ina, and had the chance to discuss the project with the First Nation, we can offer no further information at this time."
Construction of the $33-million project is scheduled to get underway in the fall.
Springbank dam opposition
The Tsuut'ina leadership has also expressed concerns about another flood mitigation project — the $432-million Springbank off-stream reservoir west of Calgary — saying the province did not adequately consult the First Nation about that project either.
The dry dam, connected to the Elbow River by a diversion tunnel, will fill up when flood waters threaten Calgary and areas downstream. It will eat up 1,461 hectares of land in Springbank.
The government has said it expects to recoup about $60 million in land sales once the project is completed.
The off-stream reservoir would be located about 15 kilometres west of Calgary — south of Highway 1, east of Highway 22 and north of Highway 8.
Some area landowners are also opposed to the plan.
An organization called Don't Damn Springbank has been pushing for the government to reconsider the Springbank plan and instead build a reservoir in Maclean Creek, an option that was already rejected by the government due to cost, longer timeline for completion and environmental impact.
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- An earlier version of this story suggested the Springbank reservoir project would cost $250 million. In fact, Alberta Transportation has said the project would cost $432 million.Apr 19, 2018 6:11 PM MT