Redwood Meadows mayor joins Springbank dry dam opposition, citing unknown impacts

The mayor of Redwood Meadows townsite is adding her name to the list of groups and residents opposing the Springbank dry dam — a controversial project designed to mitigate effects from weather events like the 2013 Calgary floods.

Mayor Liz Erasmus said in a statement her concerns include the unknown impacts from a diversion channel being placed less than one kilometre from Tsuut'ina, groundwater effects from mass water storage, water backing up during a flood diversion onto Tsuut'ina land and the designated land of Redwood Meadows, and pollutants and airborne contaminates from a flood event.

"As a result, the townsite of Redwood Meadows calls on the government of Alberta to reconsider the McLean Creek option for flood mitigation to protect all our communities," she said.

The Springbank dry dam would occupy 3,610 acres of land in Springbank and would see gates upstream of Calgary divert water during flooding into a canal that would lead to surrounding land.

The water would be channeled back into the Elbow River when the flood subsided.

It's a controversial project, with some landowners banding together to oppose it. They argue the McLean Creek option, which involves building a permanent reservoir in the McLean Creek area, is the better option.

The plan was rejected by both the previous PC government and the ruling NDP.

Tsuut'ina says its consent is needed

Last week the Tsuut'ina Nation voiced its opposition to the Springbank dry dam saying its consent was required to proceed.

"It is with some frustration that I must report that Tsuut'ina has not been consulted on the dry dam," Tsuut'ina Chief Lee Crowchild said at the time.

"Further, given that the dam is likely to have direct negative impact on Tsuut'ina, especially to treaty protected water, it is our position that more than consultation is required. Our position is that Tsuut'ina must give consent for this project to proceed. Tsuut'ina does not give that consent."

The First Nation said it would consider legal options "to force more thorough federal and provincial environmental assessments."

Called best option by province

The provincial government has defended the Springbank dry dam as the best option to protect Calgary from a repeat of the devastating 2013 floods.

The McLean Creek option was rejected on the basis that it would be more expensive, harder to build and cause more damage to environmentally sensitive areas.

Redwood Meadows's mayor said more consultation is needed.

"We support and share the goals of flood mitigation for Tsuut'ina, neighbouring municipalities and our quasi-municipality. But we insist it be done with respect and in accordance with the government's consultation obligations to both the non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal communities within the impacted area," Erasmus said.

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