Jeromy Farkas, executive director of the Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation (GRPF), declares their campaign to save five Bow River parks and Cochrane has only just begun.

The foundation continues to lead the charge to convince the provincial government to drop the Glenbow East reservoir option for Bow River flood and drought mitigation and instead expand the capacity of the Ghost reservoir.

It's encouraging people to complete the online survey on two of the three options being considered. The government recently extended the survey's deadline to May 13 from May 6. It's available here.

A third option being considered is on the Stoney Nakoda Nation and is not part of the survey

The foundation has already held public information meetings in Cochrane, Haskayne Park and Springbank that have attracted over 600 people, says Farkas. More are scheduled for Rocky View County and Calgary.

Mailouts are being sent to Cochrane and Calgary households and after the online survey deadline passes a letter writing campaign will be launched.

"This is just the start for us," says Farkas. "We're building momentum and we're going to do everything we can to make the case for a solution that saves both Calgary and Cochrane," says Farkas.

A shocking map showing the potential impact of the Glenbow East option on Cochrane was provided to GRPF by an impacted landowner from an earlier public engagement on the project.

Farkas says the Glenbow East dam could see parts of the community flooded in times of high waters and is significant cause for alarm. According to their recently launched website Save Bow River Parks, it could impact the Riveria neighbourhood, Riverfront Park, Jeff Uffelmann Memorial Park, the new bridge on Highway 22, and roads and lands surrounding the SLS Centre.

"One thing that really shocked the audience in Cochrane over the weekend was to realize that this Glenbow dam does not offer one tiny bit of help for Cochrane," says Farkas. "It essentially floods Cochrane for Calgary's benefit. The idea of sending this floodwater catastrophically into these two parks, into the the green belts between Calgary and Cochrane, and send floodwater rushing back up into the town makes absolutely no sense."

That's on top of wiping out over a decade of efforts to provide treasured public park space along the Bow River. Gone, too, is the dream of a Cochrane to Calgary Trail that is currently destined to become part of the Trans Canada Trail.

Farkas is disturbed by the fact that it would break a promise made to the Harvie and Haskayne families, who have made it possible.

"A handshake means something," says Farkas. "And what would it say to future families like the Harvies or Haskaynes if the government is going to make all the promises in the world, take the land, vow that it be protected forever, and then turn their back on that the moment that it serves their interest rather than the public's interest."

"There's a number of pieces here that I think people didn't realize, and in some ways it's like a frog being boiled in a pot. It's been such a slow burn on a lot of this stuff."

The public consultation is part of the feasibility study that began in the spring of 2020 and is expected to wrap up by December 2024. The first public engagement sessions were held in 2019 in the very early stages of examining potential flood and drought mitigation solutions.

READ: Virtual info centre on Bow Reservoir options opens June 16

The study is also examining the technical feasibility, analyzing its effectiveness in mitigating flood and drought risk, while also providing water management flexibility, assessing the potential impacts on communities, the environment and infrastructure, quantifying the costs and potential benefits.