Alberta Transportation is checking boxes with SR1 community information sessions in Bragg Creek and Springbank this fall. Having a meeting or two with our communities is too little, too late. There is almost nothing they can do to the SR1 project to make it acceptable. It now costs more than the alternative and a raft of recent changes no doubt escalates costs further.
In the most recent submission in July 2020, Alberta Transportation also fundamentally changed the outlet works of the embankment. Why? Because they picked the project and the site before they did their homework. Here is a sampling of the changes to SR1 over the last few years:
- Doubling of the diversion channel (2016) and, accordingly, storage volumes.
- Changing of diversion gate configurations and operations (2018) based on the scale model.
- Addition of massive in-river debris deflector — Foundation 160m long, 1.5m high and 6m wide supporting a 6m high tube supporting 6m high structural tubing (2018) added to address the large amount of debris expected during a flood event.
- Shifting of dam toe by 100m (2019) due to slope stability.
- Moving of the Low Level Outlet (LLOW) 190m to the south west (2020) resulting from apparent concerns of foundation material.
- Addition of a second back-up gate (2020).
- Creation of new 500m channel within reservoir from the unnamed creek to the new LLOW (2020).
- Creation of a new 700m channel on the exterior of the reservoir back to the unnamed creek (2020).
- Erosion protection along the complete length of the unnamed creek back to the Elbow River (2020).
There are 140 days or so for the Federal Regulator left to decide on SR1. After six years and tens of millions of dollars, they are still moving things around on a large scale? This isn’t changing a driveway; these are fundamental changes to the design of the project. I am sure they will tell us this is the best project but forgive us our skepticism.
Sign up to join us in the provincial regulator process. It takes 30 seconds at SpringbankCommunity.com. The more people that join, the stronger our voice at the regulatory hearings to raise our concerns. Follow along on FB under Springbank Community Association.
President, Springbank Community Association, on behalf of the Elbow River Sustainability Alliance