Project update: spring 2023

Now that the vision for the area is established (Click to view the What We Heard Report), it will help inform the continued design work in Sunnyside and along the Bow River. 

The Sunnyside Flood Barrier was posted to market to hire a contractor in spring 2023. We are using a construction management approach, which allows the project team greater design flexibility and project control to address schedule and community impacts. 

We’ve identified several potential significant public realm nodes along the Sunnyside Flood Barrier alignment. By using a construction management approach, we can prioritize building flood infrastructure while developing the surrounding public realm to enhance the natural environment and provide community gathering spaces.

Once a contractor is hired, we will provide a more detailed timeline and updates on the project. You can expect to see more information before we start construction. 

Learn more about the Memorial Parkway Program


A permanent flood barrier is a critical piece of infrastructure that will help protect people, homes, and businesses in Sunnyside and Hillhurst from river flooding. We’re still committed to delivering a 1:100 level flood barrier, as previously determined with the community.

At the same time, the barrier’s location along an iconic stretch of Calgary is an important consideration. Memorial Drive is one of Calgary’s most cherished corridors and must be protected and, where possible, enhanced. To help increase flood resiliency and create spaces that enhance the connection with the river, natural environment and commemorate our heritage, we’re combining this work through an integrated program.

Bow River flooding - what's the risk in Sunnyside?

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. Find out if your property is at risk of flooding​.

What measures will protect Sunnyside from future flooding?

To protect Sunnyside from future flooding, the Flood Mitigation Measures Assessment​ (FMMA) report, approved by Council in spring of 2017, recommended that 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.

Flood barrier height recommendation for Sunnyside

After working with the community and completing a Triple Bottom Line evaluation to explore different options for a flood barrier in Sunnyside, Council approved the 1 in 100-year flood barrier height that will help protect people, homes and businesses in Sunnyside/Hillhurst from river flooding.

Benefits of the 1 in 100-year flood level barrier height

  • Reduces the 2013-level flood risk, which will be further reduced by current and future upstream reservoirs on the Bow River.
  • Less disruptive to the community look and feel
  • Increases the ability to protect vulnerable populations
  • Meets the provincial and federal flood standard (1 in 100-year)
  • Provides the building blocks for future climate resiliency

Addressing other sources of flooding in Sunnyside

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 fix. In addition to the flood barrier, several projects 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.


Related links

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This information has no legal status and cannot be used as an official interpretation of the various bylaws, codes and regulations currently in effect. The City of Calgary accepts no responsibility to persons relying solely on this information. Web pages are updated periodically. ​