Alberta acquires land for flood reservoir construction

Published: January 30, 2019

Updated: February 1, 2019

Author: Luke Jones

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A controversial reservoir in Calgary is a step closer to construction after the Alberta government acquired one-fifth (20%) of the land it needs. In a press release this week, Transportation Minister Brian Mason revealed the provincial government purchased two square kilometres from the Robinson family, part of a cattle ranch in Springbank.

While the government believes the reservoir will help combat significant floods, the project is controversial because families are being displaced. Mason admitted it is not an easy process for the government as families are directly affected.

The Alberta government has now acquired one fifth of the land it needs for a controversial reservoir west of Calgary that would help protect the city from another massive flood.

“We know that this project is affecting some families that have real roots in that community and I really regret the fact that we need this land, but we need this land _ it’s a very important project for a million-plus Calgarians,” Mason said.

“And if there was an alternative that I thought would provide that level of protection and do so in a timely way, I would have taken that. It’s unfortunate but it’s absolutely necessary in my view.”

In total, the construction will be built across 16 square kilometres. Previous acquisitions had left the province with eight percent of the required land, boosted to 20 percent with latest land purchase. Alberta has funded the project to $432 million, including construction of the reservoir. Mason has not offered details how much the latest land acquisition cost.

Ryan Robinson, who represented the land owners and signed the deal with the province, says the agreement includes the protection of heritage lands and structures that have been in his family for generations.

“We understand the decision to pursue the Springbank Off-Stream Reservoir was not an easy one for the Government of Alberta. It has not been easy for us either,” he said in a statement.

“Governments must make tough decisions sometimes, and we respect the steps taken to resolve this very complicated issue.”