The province is getting closer to building the Springbank Reservoir near Calgary to protect the city from flooding. The government has purchased 188 hectares of private land for the project.
With the acquisition of land belonging to the Robinson family, Alberta now holds 20% of the area needed to build the reservoir.
The project is to be completed upstream of the Elbow River and through Rocky View County. To do this, however, the province must buy about twenty properties.
“I regret that we need these lands, but we need them,” says Transportation Minister Brian Mason.
This project is essential to protect Calgarians from a flood like the one of 2013.
“We understand that the government needs to protect communities from these floods, but it has not been easy for us,” Ryan Robinson said in a statement.
The Robinson’s sold the farmland at market value and received compensation to relocate.
“It’s so good news! I thank the Robinson family for doing the right thing to protect the city of Calgary from flooding, “says Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
A criticized project
The Alberta government is committed to this project despite oppositions, including from Rocky View County and Tsuut’ina First Nation.
They say the province needs to explore other options.
By construction of the reservoir, Alberta has committed to adequate consultation with Aboriginal communities. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is currently reviewing the risks associated with this infrastructure.
Once this process is complete, the work should be completed in two years.
In the meantime, if no agreement is reached between the government and affected landowners, they will have to be expropriated.
“It would really be a last resort. We prefer not to expropriate anyone and negotiate a fair deal with landowners, “said Minister Mason.
The reservoir is a $ 432 million project that is expected to cover 1,566 hectares. Its construction requires the acquisition of 1457 hectares of agricultural land.
Its design was motivated by the catastrophic floods of 2013, which killed five people and forced the evacuation of 70,000 residents in southern Alberta.