Meeting with City of Calgary Flood Resiliency Group

April 4, 2015 by CRC Action Group in News

On Tuesday March 3, 2015 Directors of CRCAG met with the City of Calgary Flood Resiliency Group. Adam Legge from the Calgary Chamber of Commerce was invited on behalf of CRCAG to attend as well. The Flood Resiliency Group is working toward implementing the 27 recommendations made in the Expert Panel Report. To access the report please visit:
Water Resources is nearing the completion of revised flood maps for the City of Calgary. These maps will be released to the public within the near future and will be used to inform the City on what structural and non-structural projects to pursue. The Flood Resiliency Group meets regularly with ESRD and is currently working with the Province to refine SR1 and its functionality with other upstream mitigation options. Pending the outcome of the TransAlta negotiations, should the Province be unable to provide adequate protection for Bow River communities, the Flood Resiliency Group will assess whether the City can provide additional protection. Further details from the meeting are included below.
Mandate and Direction of the Flood Resiliency Group

  • The City is working towards implementing the 27 recommendations made in the Expert Report delivered to the City last June and approved by Council in October
  • The City is looking at structural and non-structural projects to build a flood resilient Calgary
  • Most of the non-structural land use and development policies will likely fall within the City’s jurisdiction, while the City is looking to the Province to direct large infrastructure projects (such as SR1) and cost-sharing and/or funding municipal infrastructure projects (such as Glenmore dam upgrades, storm sewer infrastructure upgrades)
  • Water Resources is close to completing revised flood maps for the City of Calgary, which will be the “official” maps used by the Province and the Federal Government, and which will inform the City of what structural and non-structural projects they will pursue
  • It is likely that with the revised flood maps, the 2013 event may be reclassified as a 1:60-1:80 event, given recalibration of the modelling and probability analyses
  • The revised flood maps may be released to the public within the next 4 to 5 weeks, however there was caution towards releasing the maps in July so as not to cause undue concern during an already tense “flood season”
  • CRCAG encouraged the City to release the revised maps ASAP as these will be critical to many people for many reasons, with the big one being if the starting point in the mitigation process is identifying the standard to which we are mitigating, and if it is to a 1:100, then more work will need to be done to protect the City of Calgary from the next flood event
  • It was conveyed that most of the water in downtown came from the Elbow, as it breached the banks near McLeod trail and ran down hill to the core. However, the Bow also made a contribution to inundating downtown and therefore both rivers are a problem for downtown flooding
  • The City would like to see the Elbow River mitigated to 140-180cms, and the Bow River not exceed 810cms
  • The engineering design work for upgrades to the Glenmore Dam are underway and will add an additional 5M m3 of storage by the replacement of the temporary stops logs with a gated structure
  • CRCAG conveyed to the group that TransAlta infrastructure will not likely be able to mitigate the Bow to 810cms based off of the 2013 levels. The City conveyed that they will consider residual effects the Province is unable to achieve with the negotiations with TransAlta and analyze the financial, social and economic factors to determine what projects will go forward in individual communities

Communication between the Flood Resiliency Group and internal and external interfaces

  • CRCAG reiterated the necessity and importance of being included in the early stages of any policy changes, opposed to the public engagement processes displayed during last year’s land-use bylaw changes
  • The City Planning Development and Improvements Department is taking a second look at the land-use bylaws given the Province’s direction towards potentially adopting “special policy areas”, which take into account upstream flood mitigation and local community mitigation
  • The group meets regularly with the Government of Alberta Flood Resiliency Group in ESRD and supports the direction the Province has taken with SR1, but are working with the Province to assess refinement of SR1 and its functioning with other mitigation options that can in combination reduce risk
  • The group provides input to ESRD on operational changes to TransAlta’s infrastructure and supports an agreement to be made between TransAlta and the Province
  • In the past, communication between the City and TransAlta regarding TransAlta’s operations was through the River Forecasting Centre in ESRD, now the City has direct communication with both TransAlta and the River Forecasting Centre. The City would like to work towards a common platform for river forecasting and monitoring with all three parties
  • The City has densified it’s network of river monitoring gauges and now has real-time data from gauges that are upstream of Calgary rather than dealing with a 3hr time lag for data
  • The City, TransAlta and Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) are participating in an annual flood exercise