CALGARY — The government of Alberta is looking to speed up work on the Springbank Off-Stream Reservoir project with an independent evaluation.
The province has hired Martin Ignasiak, a partner at the law firm Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, to assess the project’s status and advise the officials with immediate actions that can be done to move the project forward, without disrupting the regulatory approvals or consultation processes.
“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 a press 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 province noted that Ignasiak has extensive experience developing and executing strategies to obtain regulatory approvals for large-scale projects.
The Springbank Reservoir is part of the province’s larger flood-mitigation strategy for southern Alberta. Officials stated that failing to protect the province from floods could costs billions of dollars in damage and lost economic activity.
The Springbank Off-Stream Reservoir project, announced in 2015, is designed to work alongside the Glenmore Reservoir in Calgary to protect the area from water levels similar to those seen in the southern Alberta floods of 2013.
During a flood, a diversion channel carries water from the Elbow River to the reservoir, which is designed to store up to 70.2 million cubic metres or about 28,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. When peak waters levels have subsided, an outlet structure safely releases the water back to the Elbow River in a controlled manner.
The total area within the project perimeter is approximately 3,870 acres, including road allowances, structures and the maximum extent of any backwater during emergency scenarios.
Stantec Consulting has been retained for the project’s design, engineering and the Environmental Impact Assessment.
The project is being reviewed by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, Alberta Environment and Parks and the Natural Resources Conservation Board.