CRCAG Letter to The Mayor, Councillors, CCC and CED.

April 3, 2014 by CRC Action Group in Meetings & Updates, News

Dear Mayor Nenshi, Councillors, Adam and Bruce:


As you know, CRCAG has been advocating for infrastructure changes both within the City and upstream on the Bow and Elbow watersheds, since July. We understand that the City is currently designating from its master list of “resiliency” projects those that are of higher and of lesser priority.


Calgary has experienced flood events that were approximately 30 per greater than what we experienced in 2013. That type of event is a possibility in any given year and computer modeling clearly shows it would wipe out the entire downtown core. The risk is not simply that homeowners get wet, or that the Stampede floods just before July. The risk is that the whole of the City’s downtown would be incapacitated for months. The short and long term economic and personal impacts to this City would be incalculable.


We have come to learn that these risks have been known for decades and that virtually nothing has been done to adequately address them. But the time to do so is now.


We wish to very clearly state that, in our view (and having become, unfortunately, educated in these matters), the large scale infrastructure projects will have the greatest overall impact in avoiding the damages that the City experienced when another significant flood occurs. These projects are the “insurance policies” that the Province can readily afford (at least relative to the City) and have to be identified as the highest priority items in your funding request of the Province. The political will is there.


The benefits of these large projects dwarf those realized by one-off mitigation approaches. We have seen the hydrological modeling of the incredible impact of the Elbow Bypass, for example, to keep water from entering neighborhoods, the Beltline and the downtown. We seek to keep all basements dry, including City Hall’s, and clearly the most effective way to do that is to stop water from entering the City, as best as can be done. Its not a question of if that infrastructure will be used, but when, and will it be adequate for the task. Numerous solutions are called for to work together and create the buffers needed to truly provide confidence to the City, businesses, homeowners, and their banks and insurers. The incredible costs of inaction are no longer acceptable.


Our communities and businesses see these capital projects as a necessary investment in this City’s vitality and sustainability. We wish to be crystal clear that this is no “back-door” capital expenditure request. We’re at the front door, and we’re not stepping off the porch until we see this risk properly addressed. So we urge the City to make every effort to press the Province to fund these key large projects so that there truly isn’t a next time. We need that clear leadership from you, our elected officials, and now is the time.


We look forward to your ongoing commitment to help the citizens and businesses of this City.


Calgary River Communities Action Group