’Absolutely necessary:’ Alberta buys more land for flood mitigation project

Controversial reservoir near Calgary expected to help protect city from another massive flood

The Alberta government has now acquired one fifth of the land it needs for a controversial reservoir west of Calgary that would help protect the city from another massive flood.

Transportation Minister Brian Mason said Tuesday the province bought two square kilometres of land from the Robinson family, which has a cattle ranch in the Springbank area.

Mason acknowledged it was a hard decision for them.

“We know that this project is affecting some families that have real roots in that community and I really regret the fact that we need this land, but we need this land — it’s a very important project for a million-plus Calgarians,” Mason said.

“And if there was an alternative that I thought would provide that level of protection and do so in a timely way, I would have taken that. It’s unfortunate but it’s absolutely necessary in my view.”

The site’s total footprint is nearly 16 square kilometres. Before the Robinson land purchase, the province had secured eight per cent of the land required.

Mason declined to say how much was spent on the Robinson land purchase, or how much money has been set aside for the remaining land needed for the $432-million project.

He said he hopes the province does not have to resort to expropriation.

The Calgary Zoo, Stampede grounds, much of downtown and several neighbourhoods were overwhelmed during the 2013 southern Alberta floods. The province says a repeat of that event would cause $700 million in damage.

Ryan Robinson, who signed the deal with the government on behalf of his family, said the agreement protects and preserves heritage lands and buildings that have been in his family for generations. He said the deal also lifts a cloud of uncertainty for the Robinson children and grandchildren, as well as ranch employees who are like family.

“We understand the decision to pursue the Springbank Off-Stream Reservoir was not an easy one for the Government of Alberta. It has not been easy for us either,” he said in a statement.

“Governments must make tough decisions sometimes, and we respect the steps taken to resolve this very complicated issue.”

The Springbank reservoir, along with Calgary’s Glenmore Reservoir, will contain the same volume of water that resulted in the 2013 floods once it’s complete.

Mason said it will take two years to build once it obtains regulatory approval.

As of May of last year, the project was expected to be complete in 2022.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

PHOTO: Sylvan Lake business hosts free breakfast for Westerner Days

CWC Energy Services hosted a free pancake breakfast Thursday morning

Community mourns the deaths of two Maskwacis toddlers

Siblings found drowned on family’s property

Water Balance in the Sylvan Lake Watershed

The Sylvan Lake Watershed Stewardship Society submits a weekly column about the lake

A Beacon of Hope shines in Sylvan Lake

A fundraiser for the Safe Harbour Society to educate about opioid addiction was held on July 13

Gas prices in Sylvan Lake higher than surrounding area

The gas in town is being sold with a retail margin of about four to seven cents a litre

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate indecent act at By The Lake Park

Complaint said man exposed himself in Wetaskiwin

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Chiefs honour Indigenous leader wrongfully hanged in B.C. 154 years ago today

Chief Joe Alphonse says they want his remains returned to his homeland in B.C.’s Cariboo region

Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate attempted armed robbery

Police seek information about alleged attack and identify suspect

Scrapie, a disease related to mad cow, found in two flocks of sheep in Alberta

Health Canada says there is no known link between scrapie and human health

Alberta oil and gas producer cleanup cost estimates set too low, says coalition

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. facing the largest bill at $11.9 billion to clean up 73,000 wells

Scheer on Trump: It’s ‘offensive’ to question the family background of critics

Trump is being called a racist for saying that the four congresswomen should go back where they came from

Instagram expands Canadian pilot removing ‘like’ counts to more countries

Social media giant plans to roll out the test in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Japan, Italy and Ireland

Most Read