Province appoints lawyer to evaluate Alberta's Springbank Reservoir project

May 6 2019, 9:00 pm

The Government of Alberta has called in a lawyer in the hopes of speeding up the Springbank Reservoir project.

The reservoir, which would be created in Rockyview Country to divert excess flow away from the Elbow River during peak flood season, would be one of the largest flood mitigation tools in place to protect the city of Calgary from future natural disasters.

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The city saw devastating floods back in 2013, marking one of the costliest natural disasters that Canada had ever seen.

While the project is not expected to truly be underway until proper environmental assessments have been carried out and Indigenous consultations have been completed, the Government of Alberta has appointed lawyer Martin Ignasiak to “assess opportunities to expedite construction of the Springbank Off-Stream Reservoir.”

“We need an independent expert to evaluate the Springbank Reservoir project and determine what can be done to move this project forward,” said Minister of Transportation Ric McIver, in the release.

“We are confident that Mr. Ignasiak will help us move quickly to protect the safety and economic security of Calgary and those living in other communities downstream of the Elbow River.”

The federal government previously announced that it would be investing $168.5 million towards flood mitigation in Calgary, according to a March release.

“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,” said Minister of Infrastructure and Communities François-Philippe Champagne, in the release.

“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.”

The final go-ahead on the project will need to come from the Minister of Environment and Climate Change once it is determined that the proper legal conditions have been met.