CRCAG Meeting with City Flood Panel and Notes on DRP

February 10, 2014 by CRC Action Group in News

This email notice includes a summary of our recent meeting with the City of Calgary’s Flood Advisory Panel.  We continue to read all of your emails.


If you do not receive a reply please do not think that this doesn’t mean we haven’t read it. Your emails help us understand what is happening for our members. We appreciate and require your input and insight. If you would like us to forward an email you have sent us on to GOA or City officials please let us know in the email. We will never forward your emails or comments without first obtaining your permission.




Firstly, relating to the DRP. We have suffered a disaster the scale of which has never happened here before and many have suffered incomprehensible losses. Everyone has taken some kind of economic hit and it is clear that most people will not be made whole. It is also clear that so many of you are very upset and angry with the DRP system.


We receive all your emails and understand your collective frustration.  DRP is at its best a very rough tool. As volunteer run organization we do not have the resources to advocate on behalf of individuals.  But based on your feedback and our own experiences we will continue to ask for increased transparency in the system, more resources, clarity around the appeal process and policy shifts that will result in more money being paid to those who have suffered significant losses.


Transparency is a theme of frustration for many of you. Some believe that those in other jurisdictions are being treated differently than homeowners in Calgary, others compare notes with their next door neighbour only to  be baffled by the seeming disparity of outcome. We continue to ask for clarity around how DRP payments are calculated.


We met with the DRP advocacy committee for High River. We are sharing information with each other and working together to get a better program in place. In addition to the feedback we give the Government of Alberta on a regular basis the High River Town Council has passed a motion calling on the Province to increase funding to the AEMA for the purposes of implementing the “caseworker model” for DRP applications, to clear the backlog of files by April 30, 2014 and to adopt a limited risk model for the DRP to allow for interim payments to be received on file without hampering the applicants’ future file consideration.


Minister Hughes and Premier Redford have both told us they are giving instructions for the system to be improved. We will continue to ask the questions that need to be asked and offer solutions but please do keep up your own advocacy.


Meeting with the Mayor

Steering committee members will be meeting with Naheed Nenshi and members of his office on Thursday, Feb 13.


Flood Panel Update


Summary of Meeting with Flood Mitigation Panel


On February 5, members of the Steering Committee of CRCAG met with the City of Calgary Flood Mitigation Panel. The meeting was hosted by Wolf Keller and attended by  Rick Valdarchi, Shannon Abbott of Water Services and Donna Sinclair of the City of Calgary Communications Department.  In attendance on behalf of CRCAG were Emma May, Daryl Rudichuk and Rob Nieuwesteeg.


The City of Calgary provided us with the following updates:


1.The Glenmore Reservoir 2013 Bathymetric Survey/Dredging Report was completed and a copy was provided to CRCAG.


The Survey details Reservoir Storage Capacity and Storage Capacity Change. There have been small changes to the storage capacity of the reservoir and the full report will be made available as soon as possible.


The City of Calgary is reviewing the report with regards to the idea of dredging the reservoir and while dredging has not been ruled out as an option early indications are that the possible benefits are not significant enough to justify the cost.  Estimates are that it would offer 2 to 3 per cent increase in storage capacity and flood control.


The City is also exploring other means by which to increase the storage capacity of the Reservoir, such as increasing the height of the dam or upgrading the dam, but this could place infrastructure on Glenmore Drive and Glenmore Landing at risk. The cost/risk/benefit analysis of this is being weighed.


2. The City of Calgary received a Golder report on the Mission Barrier Performance

This report will be provided by the City of Calgary to the public at a later date. CRCAG was able to review the report in the meeting. Our cursory review of the report indicates that the finding were similar to the findings of the independent report that Rideau/Roxboro community association. The report did demonstrate very clearly that had the barrier not been in place the entire beltline from Elbow Drive to past 17th Avenue would have been inundated with water. As there is litigation pending on this matter the City of Calgary was not in a position to comment on the matter any further.


3. Elbow Island Gravel Deposit

The City of Calgary is reviewing the situation of the gravel deposit between homes on Rideau Road and Elbow Island. The City has found that the gravel deposit does not form a problem for the river to flow as the channel on the other side of the island has been deepened by the flooding event. Because the gravel deposit doesn’t have an impact on the flow itself it is not in a priority position to be dealt with at the moment. The City acknowledged that there is a negative aesthetic impact of the gravel deposit and that the long term fate of the area will have to be managed one way or another.


4. Glenmore ByPass Feasibility Study (The Tunnel!)


The team has reviewed the submissions of the engineering firms bidding on the feasibility study and will assign the contract within the new two weeks. Council will have 10 days to object as a matter of process. Mr. Keller expects that the study will take 6-8 weeks to complete. Following completion a recommendation will be brought to Council and a funding request will be presented to the Government of Alberta.  There will then be a detailed design phase and the contracting strategy will be chosen. At this stage, the Bypass Tunnel demonstrates the potential to have the greatest impact on the flooding of the Elbow River and the downtown core.


5. Bow River

Transalta, the City and the Province continue to have discussions and plan for better management of the Bow River through operation changes. Everyone seems optimistic that there are ways to reduce flows into the City within the current infrastructure framework.


6. Flood Notification
The City of Calgary is working with the Province to ensure that impacted residents get plenty of warning about flood risk. Warning will help mitigate losses. The City is looking at ways to reach out and involve more people in the process, provide information and access to snow pack and water level data and allow for real time monitoring of the situation.


7. Personal Preparedness/Flood Expo

The City of Calgary is working with Calgary Economic Development and Calgary Emergency Management to host an expo. This trade show type event will showcase flood mitigation techniques and emergency preparedness strategies. The plan is for the event to take place in early May. The planetarium or the Red and White Club are possible locations.


8. Sandbag Distribution

The City of Calgary said is has not been their policy to distribute sandbags to individual homeowners. They are reviewing this policy but at this time have no plans to do a large sandbag distribution event.


9.Temporary Berms

The City of Calgary is looking at temporary berms in different areas of the City. As the Mission Barrier demonstrates though the benefits of any temporary measure must be weighed against the negative unintended consequences. The City would not be able to do much right along the river bank as this is private property although individual homeowners may wish to self-organize.


10.Road Bridges

The City of Calgary was looking at redesigns of the bridges at 4th and Elbow and at 25th Avenue, and upon CRCAG suggestion, at Elbow and Sifton. Redesign may help allow the river to flow though the City and not impede and redirect water.


11. Groundwater

We discussed the groundwater situation and how the Bypass mitigation proposal   would be of assistance in this case as well.


12. Remote Operation of Sunnyside Flood Gate
The City of Calgary will have an update for Sunnyside residents at the Hillhurst-Sunnyside Flood Task Force will have a community meeting on Mar 12, 2014, at 6:30PM.


CRCAG Communication/Ombudsman Request


CRCAG expressed our memberships concerns that there was not a centralized place of communication for all things relating to the flood. We noted that different Councillors were putting out information at different times or by different means and that there wasn’t a place where impacted residents could go to to get a full update on what the City of Calgary is doing to help flood victims and prevent future flooding.


Donna Sinclair acknowledged our concern and indicated that the communications department took it seriously and was strategizing a way to bring all information relating to the flood back to a centralized space.