Tsuut’ina First Nation has officially joined the growing list of opponents to the Springbank Off-stream Reservoir (SR1) – the flood mitigation project the province touted as being less costly and having a shorter timeline to completion than other options.
SR1 has done little more, up to this point, than pit community against community. It has, however, well surpassed the initial budget of $200 million – growing to at least $372 million – and has seen delays that have significantly pushed back its 2019 projected completion date. Still, the province continues to plow ahead with its unwavering support.
While we don’t argue Calgary’s need for flood protection, we do see an issue with sacrificing other communities to do so, while the province ignores its own slack floodplain regulations.
Weeks after the 2013 flood, the province declared it wanted residents moved out of floodplains, with then-minister of Municipal Affairs Doug Griffiths stating, “We simply cannot encourage development in floodways.”
However, the government made relocating voluntary and offered to buy only 250 homes most affected by flooding, and made those not taking the buyout ineligible for future provincial disaster relief.
The government also seems to have forgotten the impact a failure to consult First Nations continues to have on the Trans Mountain pipeline. The decision to brush off Tsuut’ina could very likely cost the province more time and money.
We don’t fully understand this dog-with-a-bone stance the province has for SR1, but it is clear, the fight is far from over.