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Ward 1 News: TransAlta and Flood Mitigation

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Ward 1 official website

Dear Residents,

On May 13, 2014, a resident sent me a letter written by a third party that contained inaccuracies regarding flood mitigation process between the Province and TransAlta. I understand that the different roles, responsibilities and powers from the municipal and the provincial government can be confusing at times. Thus, I want to take this time to rectify the misunderstanding.

I would like to clarify that ENMAX does not own Glenmore reservoir or play a role with flood mitigation. The City of Calgary owns the Glenmore reservoir and Water Services manages it. Recently, The City and Water Services made the pro-active decision to reduce water levels as a safety precaution for Elbow River. 

TransAlta is a private company and controls Bearspaw dam. The Province and TransAlta are in discussion over flood mitigation actions. This conversation would involve the Province’s flood mitigation team, TransAlta, and the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, Minister Robin Campbell.  However, at a municipal level, I am not privy to that conversation. Your MLA, Alana Delong, would be the best resource and point of contact.

As the anniversary of last year’s devastating flood comes closer, I understand residents are anxious to hear what The City of Calgary and the Province are doing to protect residents. The City has submitted the urgent concerns of residents to the Province. At the municipal level, the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA), which is under the Community Services and Protective Services, has bought more monitoring equipment to assess snow packs, water flow and rain fall on a daily basis. As well, The City has:

• Purchased additional mitigation supplies that can be quickly deployed to protect key infrastructure;
• Enhanced training of operations staff;
• Updated response plans for future flooding events;
• Construction of additional temporary barriers when response times allow;
• Proposed changes to provincial and municipal policies and bylaws that ensure mitigation; measures are in place for properties within flood hazard areas.

Based on the recommendation of Flood Committee, The City has evaluated goals for disaster response, mitigation and preparedness. However, the following improvement is contingent of provincial funding. The long term projects and plans include:

• Designs for additional permanent berms are in progress;
• Identified locations for new outfall gates to prevent river water backup through the storm drainage system;
• Reviewing and implementing any Council-approved recommendations from the Expert Management Panel on River Flood Mitigation.

Please know that your safety is my number one priority, and I will advocate on your behalf to the Province within the powers of my role as your councillor. I have attached links for flood resources (see p.3). If you have any other questions, please email my office at or call (403) 268-2430.


Ward Sutherland
Councillor for Ward 1

This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.

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