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Sunnyside Flood Barrier

What's happening

Peace Bridge - Calgary

To help us better manage flood water and avoid damage similar to what was experienced in 2013, The City is looking at various community flood barrier options to enhance flood mitigation in Sunnyside.

The Sunnyside Flood Barrier project is currently in the preliminary design stage. This stage consists of engineering studies and surveys to help inform various options.

This fall, we'll be gathering feedback from the Sunnyside community on the proposed options.   From there, we will integrate the community's feedback on the social impacts and continue to evaluate the barrier options according to their social, economic and environmental impacts (Triple Bottom Line).

A barrier option recommendation will be shared with the community in early 2020 and confirmed by Council in spring 2020.

Studies and analysis

As part of this project, the following studies and analysis are taking place:

  • Geotechnical investigations: Conducting various studies of the ground conditions, groundwater and condition of the existing barrier. View map of borehole and monitoring well locations.
  • Hydrogeological: Looking at how groundwater flows and identifying seepage risks.
  • Hydrotechnical: Examining different river conditions to help inform the barrier height and river bank protection. We’ll be using a river model to inform these studies. This model has been updated to include post-flood conditions such as: gravel bars, Prince’s Island causeway, Downtown barrier, changes to the ice anchor and river bank restoration.
  • Tree inventory: Identifying any trees that will and won’t impact the integrity of the barrier.
  • Environmental review: Helping to inform the design process and regulatory requirements.
  • Barrier option analysis: Evaluating different levels of service of the barrier (i.e. height and length) along with the associated cost, lifecycle performance and how well it integrates into the community.

Results from these studies will available on the Community Flood Barriers - studies and reports.

Getting input from the Sunnyside community

View the Sunnyside Flood Barrier Engage Page to learn about previous engagement on this project and more details about the upcoming Open House.


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ListCat: Sunnyside Flood Barrier
ID: 1753

Homes, buildings and other infrastructure in Sunnyside are impacted when river flows reach levels of 927 m3/s (1:10). There is a 10 per cent chance of this occurring every year.

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Row Count: 5
ListCat: Sunnyside Flood Barrier
ID: 1754

To protect Sunnyside from another 2013 level flood, the Flood Mitigation Measures Assessment(FMMA) report, approved by Council in spring of 2017, outlined how there isn't one single project that will provide adequate flood protection on its own on the Bow River.

Instead, the recommended approach from this report was a combination of mitigation solutions that work together to create a flexible and adaptable flood risk management program. Each piece of the strategy provides great benefits independently, but together, they ensure the most effective flood protection strategy.

Below is a summary of this multi-measure approach to building flood resiliency that includes the construction of a new upstream reservoir, as well as changes to the TransAlta’s Ghost Reservoir and the construction of community-level flood barriers.

Building Flood Resiliency in Sunnyside
Click to view larger image.

How do community-level flood barriers work with upstream flood mitigation measures?

The upstream measures would work hand in hand with community level-flood barriers. During a potential flood, a new upstream reservoir along with the Ghost Reservoir would provide significant additional storage and would control the river flow rate, but could only reduce it to 1,230 m3/s (1 in 20 year flood). Since the existing barrier in Sunnyside provides protection up to 927 m3/s (1 in 10 year flood) the improvements to the community flood barriers would help make up that difference so that higher river flows can still pass through the community without being flooded.

Until the upstream migration is complete, how is Sunnyside being protected from flooding?

Once improvements to the existing barrier in Sunnyside are complete, the community could withstand higher river flows up to a minimum of 1,230 m3/s (1 in 20 year flood)– depending on the height of the barrier chosen. This measure alone would provide additional protection from smaller floods that are more likely to occur, but in order to protect to a 2013 level flood, multiple flood mitigation measures are required to work as part of a larger strategy.

Learn more about Calgary's Flood Mitigation and Resiliency Plan.

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ListCat: Sunnyside Flood Barrier
ID: 1757

The project team is comprised of a group of internal experts and external consultants.

  • Stantec Ltd. - Engineering consultant and landscape architects
  • Context Research Inc. - Public engagement
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Row Count: 5
ListCat: Sunnyside Flood Barrier
ID: 1758

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Row Count: 5
ListCat: Sunnyside Flood Barrier
ID: 1759

Due in part to the geography as well as an outdated drainage system, Sunnyside is more prone to flooding and this is something that The City is working to address. In addition to the flood barrier, there are several projects that have been completed or are currently underway to reduce flooding that happens in the community.

Visit for a list of projects and up to date information.

Public Engagement

Open House | Flood Barrier Height Recommendation 

Following Alberta Health Services (AHS) direction on public gatherings and preventative measures for COVID-19, we’ve cancelled this upcoming in-person information

We want to assure you that while in-person events are cancelled, we are exploring ways that we can provide Sunnyside residents with information on the barrier height recommendation in advance of this recommendation going to Council.

Once we have details on these opportunities we will communicate this to Sunnyside residents through your Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Association and through social media outlets.

Sunnyside Flood Barrier Engage page

View previous engagement activities, reports back to the community and presentations

Stay connected

Project specific information



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List Category: Sunnyside Flood Barrier