Flood Mitigation & Ward 11
August 21, 2017
During the campaign, I will be discussing the issues facing Ward 11 residents. The next topic I want to dive into is, Flood Mitigation in Ward 11.
In 2013, our city was devastated by flooding of both the Bow and Elbow rivers. Many neighbourhoods in Ward 11, including The Beltline, Cliff Bungalow, Elbow Park, Mission, Rideau Park, Roxboro, Riverdale, and Erlton, were overcome by flood waters. Damages to City infrastructure alone totaled $445M (with only $166M recoverable through insurance); and our downtown core, an economic engine of this city, was essentially shut down for over a week. The impact of the flood was staggering and estimates put the total economic cost at $5-$6 billion.
While this summer has been one of the warmest in recent memory, we must not lose track of the lessons from 2013. While our city is slowly recovering from the downturn in 2014, as I talk with residents and businesses within the ward, residents tell me that if we were to be hit again by another flood, we may not be able to recover as swiftly as 2013. The concerns I have are whether or not small businesses in our ward will be able to survive another flood; and would we as a city have enough economic resources to recover?
- The work currently completed by the City and Province have only reduced the overall risk of another flood by 30%.
- Residents and businesses, especially in the northern portion of Ward 11, are concerned with the potential economic damage a second flood would cause to our already fragile economy.
- I believe we need to continue with the Springbank Dry Dam Project and City Council needs to work with the Province to have it ready for 2021. The Dam Project is a diversion channel which would carry water from the Elbow River to the off-stream reservoir, which will have a storage capacity of 70.2 million cubic metres. This project will provide the needed safety mechanism to mitigate a flood the size of 2013.
- I believe City Council needs to work with the Province to build additional upstream storage on the Bow River. The Province has a responsibility to develop upstream infrastructure on the Bow River to mitigate the impact of high rainfall years. This includes potential projects such as: a dam upstream on the Bow River, as well as extending the TransAlta Agreement for the Ghost Dam.
- I believe the city needs to continue to look at applying technology solutions for operational excellence. The city should continue to improve the real-time monitoring of the entire watershed. This will allow the City the lead time needed to make optimal operational decisions.
Ward 11 Outcomes:
Once the Springbank Dry Dam Project, and upstream storage on the Bow River are completed, our city will be in a better position to handle a flood similar to the one that hit the city in 2013. The completion of these two projects, as well as other measures, will also help alleviate a majority of the concerns of not only residents, but businesses within Ward 11. In addition, by continuing to improve our monitoring process and looking at new solutions, we can also position ourselves in a more proactive role for any potential floods. It’s why I believe that as your councillor, we need to have an advocate on City Council who will not lose focus on this important issue, continue to push city administration to find new solutions and monitoring tools, and work with all levels of government to ensure mitigation efforts are moving forward.