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Flood mitigation work begins in Bragg Creek

“The community is by and large back on its feet,” he said. “Although, lingering in the shadows is always the concern that we could have a similar event happen again.”
Construction on the Bragg Creek flood mitigation project is underway. File Photo

BRAGG CREEK— Construction is underway to protect the hamlet of Bragg Creek from future floods.

The 2013 southern Alberta flood heavily impacted the Bragg Creek area causing damage to municipal infrastructure, homes, property, flood protection works and businesses along the Elbow River.

Since then there has been a lot of work done to repair infrastructure in the Bragg Creek area that was hit hard by the flood, said Rocky View County Manager of Capital Projects Doug Hafichuk. He added that residents and commercial areas have also spent years recovering from the damage.

“The community is by and large back on its feet,” he said. “Although, lingering in the shadows is always the concern that we could have a similar event happen again.”

These concerns are why the Bragg Creek Flood Mitigation project was critical, he said.

Every time the water elevation climbs in the Elbow River residents and the County get a little nervous because they remember the devastation of the 2013 flood.

“We know what mother nature can do,” he said.

The County has been focused on protecting the hamlet of Bragg Creek, he said, to ensure they have flood protection regardless of what happens downstream.

“The Bragg Creek Flood Mitigation project does exactly that,” Hafichuk said.

The design of the project will feature a mix of earthen berms and small sections of constructed walls that will serve as usable infrastructure. When possible areas will be grassed and trees will be placed in the hopes people will use the area as a minor recreation amenity.

The project has five distinct construction areas, starting with Bracken Bridge and Bracken Road Sout, North of Bracken Bridge, Yoho Tinda, areas of the Hamlet South of Balsam Bridge and areas of the Hamlet North of Balsam Bridge.

Hafichuk said the county expects to have the east side of the project completed by the end of the year. The west side will be completed in 2021.

Light construction work on the project has already begun and it is expected it will take 18 to 24 months to complete.

Hafichuk said it has been a unique project and he appreciates that this critical piece of infrastructure can be delivered to residents.

“Patients has been required this has not been an easy thing to put together but we’ve had hundreds of conversations with every landowner under the sun, our local community groups, our local business groups and the key piece is all that patience, all that optimism is finally paying off,” Hafichuk said. “That community can now be fully secured and continue to thrive and develop into the future.”

On the heels of the flood mitigation work Rocky View County has signed an agreement with the Government of Alberta that will compensate the municipality for loss of revenue if the Springbank Off-Stream Reservoir is completed.

At the May 12 council meeting Rocky View County Council voted to withdraw its objections to the Springbank Off-Stream Reservoir (SR-1 project).

“For our part of the agreement, we have essentially agreed to trust in the federal and provincial processes,” said County Reeve Greg Boehlke. “The Province will have to meet very high standards to pass environmental and regulatory reviews for SR-1. If the standards are met, they can move forward.”

The county will receive $10 million from the province to compensate for future lost municipal property taxes on the 3,870 acres of land that will be impacted if the project is completed.

As part of the agreement, the province has pledged to deal with certain road or infrastructure issues that could arise due to the construction of the Off-Stream Reservoir.

To address the concerns of flood protection needed in the Bragg Area the province has committed $9.4 million to fund flood mitigation in the area. This comes on top of $32.8 million that has already been dedicated by the provincial and federal governments.

“Over the past year, communication between the County and the Province have improved considerably on all fronts. That has led to mutual understanding and co-operation for a number of long-standing issues, opportunities, and concerns, including SR-1,” Boehlke said. “We’re all committed to building the right flood mitigation projects for the people of this region. By working together, we’re ensuring that the goals of public safety, enhanced quality of life, and economic wellbeing can be met while respecting the environmental and regulatory processes that are in place to protect everyone.”

If the Springbank reservoir project is approved it will be built about 15km west of Calgary on the Elbow River and occupy about 3,870 acres. The area was chosen because it will offer flood mitigation for the City of Calgary and Rocky View County properties, will have a limited environmental impact and provides easy access to operational response teams and access roads.

The system will work to control how much flood water enters the river through the use of a diversion channel and the design is built to accommodate water levels matching the 2013 flood.

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