Public engagement is now underway for the second phase of the Bow River Reservoir Options (BRRO) initiative that could have lasting ramifications in the Cochrane area.
The Alberta Government is currently reviewing three possible locations for flood/drought mitigation on the Bow, two upstream of Cochrane, the other downstream that will impact the Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park.
A potential site is being considered on the Stoney Nakoda Nation, and the third option is to vastly expand the existing Ghost Reservoir.
The virtual information centre will be open from June 16 to 30 and will include general information, and the opportunity to provide input.
A series of three live virtual sessions are being held on June 22, 24, and 26. Space is limited and pre-registration is required here.
The feasibility study phase of the BRRO initiative has reached the halfway point. This is the first major public engagement since a series of open houses were held in October 2019.
The current phase includes a technical feasibility assessment, consideration of various social, environmental, cultural, and traditional land-use impacts, engineering, and economic elements. The study findings will help the Alberta government decide if there is an option that should proceed to the next phase, the engineering and regulatory approval process.
The Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation (GRPF) has voiced vigorous opposition to the Glenbow East option they believe will heavily impact the Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park. It is located between Cochrane and Bearspaw Dam.
In 2019, the foundation wrote a strong letter in opposition to the Glenbow East site. It says it will cause extensive ecological damage and negatively impact the park's significant historical and cultural assets.
"The Glenbow Reservoir option would also significantly decrease the recreational opportunities on the park," states the letter from GRPF executive director Sarah Parker. "The trail system in this park allows visitors to cycle, walk, and hike away from the hustle and bustle of nearby town and city life. To see tens of kilometres of pathway impacted is troubling."
GRPF has been encouraging its supporters to participate in current public consultation.
After this, it will be another year before further public engagement.