Water Collaborative Meeting Summary

November 27, 2014 by CRC Action Group in Meetings & Updates, News


November 13th – Meeting with CRCAG and ESRD
November 14th – Meeting with ESRD Minister Kyle Fawcett (summary pending)
November 20th – Water Collaborative (summary below)
November 26th – Meeting with the City of Calgary and CRCAG (summary pending)

Bill 27 Update & Floodway Development Regulator

Room for the River – Bow Elbow Rivers Pilot

Water Collaborative Meeting – Nov 20, 2014
CRCAG representatives Tony Morris, Gloria Mak, and Rob Motherwell were in attendance at the Water Collaborative.
Municipal Affairs – Bill 27, the Flood Recovery and Reconstruction Act
An overview and update was given on the status of Bill 27. The intent of Bill 27 is to control new and ongoing use of land in the flood way in an effort to limit property damage and enhance public safety. Bill 27 was enacted in December 2013, and amends the Municipal Government Act (MGA) to allow for:

  • Regulation making powers for controlling, regulating or prohibiting any use or development in a flood way; and
  • Exempts floodway development in municipalities with significant development already in the floodway (Fort McMurray and Drumheller)
  • A two-phase approach to stakeholder engagement was conducted
  • For further info on Bill 27 see: http://www.municipalaffairs.alberta.ca/1934.cfm

Next Steps

  • Municipal affairs will continue to work with ESRD before drafting regulation
  • Draft of the regulation is expected to roll out in early 2015

Discussion Items

  • CRCAG questioned the process by which policy and regulation were being developed ahead of flood mapping being completed and taking into account flood mitigation
  • In drafting the regulation, municipal affairs will work with ESRD to ensure flood mapping aligns with what is required for Bill 27
  • A river forecasting and flood hazard mapping presentation will be scheduled

Room for the River Pilot Project
ESRD commissioned Alberta WaterSmart to undertake a pilot project that would look at determining how the Dutch concept of “Room for the River” could be applied to the Bow River Basin System. The goal of this project is to provide ESRD with advice as to where there may be options for “Room for the River.”
Pilot area – starting from the confluence of Bow and Elbow rivers at Calgary extending upstream to the Ghost Reservoir on the main trunk of the Bow and extending upstream on the main trunk of the Elbow to where it meets Quirk Creek.
Phase One – Literature review and data collection
Phase Two – Technical working session through the Bow River Basin Council on Dec 10
Phase Three – Input from phase two will be consolidate into a final report for Dec 19
Update on Projects

  • MC1 has been referred back for a more detailed environmental review. Currently undertaken by AMEC and scheduled for completion by end of December.
  • Public input for proposed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Terms of Reference has closed. The design and EIA work is underway and being completed by Stantec.
  • Assessment of diversion options for High River will be completed by end of December.
  • ESRD has commissioned IBI to undertake a Provincial flood damage assessment with the intent of developing a tool that will allow for a standardized method to conduct cost-benefit analyses for various mitigation projects. Tool will be developed by the end of the year. From this, the Tunnel’s cost-benefit analyses will also be completed by the end of the year. SR1 and MC1 cost-benefit analyses will follow and be completed by April 2015. The tool will be made publicly available.
  • Flood mitigation feasibility studies are currently underway for northern Alberta watersheds, to be completed by Spring 2015.
  • Once the Room for the River pilot project is completed, ESRD will determine whether it can be applied to the tributaries of the Bow and Elbow rivers and additional watersheds.
  • Alberta WaterSmart has been commissioned to look at how water can be managed in the Red Deer River Basin.

Update on Grant Programs
Funding decisions will be publicly available by January 2015
Alberta Community Resilience Program
A three-year $325 million grant program

  • 142 applications were received with a total request of $725 Million
  • Review of all applications has been completed. ACRP will not be able to fund all projects. Recommended projects for funding have a good spread between rural and urban communities and will be forwarded to the Minister

Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program
$21 million in funding is available through this program

  • 31 applications were received with a total request of $22.5 Million
  • Final recommendations are being prepared to submit to the Minister

Round Table Discussions

  • CRCAG asked for an update on the status of the negotiations between TransAlta and ESRD and what other flood mitigation options were being considered for Bow River communities. We were told that there have been discussions with TransAlta and that options were being considered in addressing the issue with isolated fish in the Ghost Reservoir. There is also a public forum being planned for January 2015 to address this issue, in addition to other mitigation options for other river communities.
  • CRCAG asked: Whether a “do nothing” environmental impact of the 2013 flood would be completed as a baseline comparison for other environmental impact assessments? What is the environmental cost of continuous repeated floods on material waste, toxins in river, impact on landfill, etc…? ESRD would take the questions into consideration.
  • CRCAG reiterated the need for upstream mitigation as a means of enhancing public safety given the increased awareness of the impact the 1879 and 1897 floods would have on the Calgary downtown core.
  • The City of Calgary is planning a national conference on flood resiliency with the tentative dates of Sept 28-30, 2015, and is currently in the planning stages of developing the program for the event.