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Sunnyside Flood Barrier

What's happening: August 2021

The 1 in 100 level flood barrier for Hillhurst/Sunnyside is currently in design and remains a is a critical piece of our city’s flood resilience plan that will help protect people, homes and businesses in Sunnyside/Hillhurst from river flooding.

Through this process, we’ve been working closely with the community and heard the importance of flood protection, but also the importance of creating spaces that enhance our connection with the north bank of the Bow River, the natural environment and commemorate our heritage. During an internal review of the initial design drawings in 2021, the impacts of the barrier to the urban and natural areas became clearer.

We remain committed to delivering a 1 in 100 level flood barrier, but it’s important that we get this right. As a result, the project timelines are being modified to take the time to fully envision what is achievable in the area.

Next steps

As we develop the vision for the north bank of the Bow River, we will continue to engage with the community to create opportunities for input, and provide them with updates on progress and timelines for construction.

An updated time of key design milestones on the path to construction will be shared in fall 2021.

The safety of Sunnyside/Hillhurst residents during a flood is a priority. Until a flood barrier is built, our emergency response plans have temporary measures ready to be put in place to help reduce the impact of flooding and evacuation plans to help protect people living in the area.


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.

Public engagement

Subscribe for email updates for information on future engagement opportunities.

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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