Federal funding was announced today for the Springbank Off-Stream Reservoir (SR1) but as of yet the project hasn't been cleared by the federal minister of Environment and Climate Change.
Today, François-Philippe Champagne, federal minister of Infrastructure and Communities, was in Calgary to announce a $168.5 million contribution towards the project, most recently estimated to cost $372 million to complete. The funds are being contributed through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund.
“Taking concrete steps to adapt to the impacts of climate change is more and more essential to ensuring a safe, prosperous future for our kids and grandkids," says Champagne. "By investing in the Springbank Off-Stream Reservoir project, we are helping Alberta get ahead of the problem, and protecting Calgarians and communities to the south from the heavy personal and economic costs of increasingly threatening weather events.”
Not everyone agrees, particularly those impacted by the project, which has a perimeter of 3,870 acres.
Among those voicing opposition is Rocky View County council, who in December asked the province to conduct a full and comprehensive analysis of all the available options for flood mitigation. Likewise, Tsuut'ina Nation opposes the project and says the government has failed to provide meaningful consultation.
Alberta Transportation minister Brian Mason is confident they will reach a consensus.
“Will we be able to satisfy Tsuut’ina’s concerns and answer all of their questions? I believe we will,” Mason says. “Will we be able to purchase the land to build the project? I believe we will.”
The project is currently going through the federal environmental assessment process being led by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. An Aboriginal consultation process is also underway.
Construction won't commence until approval is received from the federal Environment and Climate Change minister and the Aboriginal consultation is satisfactorily completed.
Should it proceed, SR1 will be capable of containing 70.2 million cubic metres of flood water.