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Bragg Creek hosts SR1 information session

At an information session in Bragg Creek, Springbank Community Association president Karin Hunter compared the Springbank Off-Stream Reservoir with a proposed alternative at McLean Creek. Photo by Ben Sherick/Rocky View Publishing

As opposition to the Springbank Off-Stream Reservoir (SR1) continues to mount, Rocky View County (RVC) residents had an opportunity to attend an information session at the Bragg Creek Community Centre June 17 to learn more about the controversial project and possible alternatives for regional flood protection.

The information session was the first since the Bragg Creek Community Association officially registered its opposition to SR1. In a letter dated June 6, president Peggy Rupert wrote, “in our opinion, the Alberta government has not consulted our communities regarding the SR1 project in a satisfactory manner. RVC residents will be permanently and negatively impacted by this massive project while risks have not been sufficiently addressed.”

Speakers at the information session, including Kevin Littlelight of the Tsuut’ina Nation, president of the Springbank Community Association (SCA) Karin Hunter and Bragg Creek resident and river enthusiast Dave Klepacki, continued to voice their long-held stance that an alternative McLean Creek project (MC1) will achieve similar outcomes with fewer negative consequences.

“This project will have a major and permanent impact on our treaty-protected land, so consultation is not enough,” Littlelight said. “This project requires our consent, and we do not give consent. We’ll fight this project.”

The Tsuut’ina feel sufficient consultation has not occurred, Littlelight said, adding it was not enough for the province to complete a “checklist of consultation requirements.”

Hunter said the SCA continues to advocate for MC1 as a better solution, which he said will not only address flood mitigation but also recreation needs, drought protection and fire response. Klepacki added, “what we would like to see is a plan for all of us, all of the communities, not just Calgary, along the Elbow River watershed.”

The information shared at the session seemed to resonate with those in attendance. Like Hunter, Redwood Meadows resident Brian Berkshire said he felt the province has not been able to answer lingering questions about SR1 and its impacts.

“I don’t understand the concept of why there’s not more research and information,” he said. “It just seems like it’s a blind eye turned. If I could be told there was a reason why, it would make more sense.”

West Bragg Creek resident Pam Pritchard said she, like many, has always believed MC1 is the better alternative.

“I think it’s in a better place [and] it protects a lot more communities,” she said.

The session followed the provincial government’s submission of an 8,000-page document June 14, providing responses to information requests from Alberta Environment and Parks, the Natural Resources Conservation Board and the federal Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. According to a press release, “the technical responses to questions about the project’s environmental impact assessment cover a broad range of information requested by the regulators, including benefits and costs, land use, Indigenous consultation, water and hydrogeology and environmental impacts.”

RVC praised the province in a June 14 press release for “opening the lines of communication,” but maintained the County still believes the government should take a step back and reexamine all available flood mitigation alternatives, including MC1.

The Bragg Creek information session concluded with a call to action, where attendees were asked to participate in a letter-writing campaign to the provincial government. Pritchard said she’s already written some letters and plans to continue in the hope the province will listen.

“I have, throughout this, continued to be positive that there’s something we can do,” she said. “I’m not ready to give up.”

Berkshire, meanwhile, said he will wait and see if such actions actually have an impact.

“I don’t know if I can say I’m optimistic,” he said. “I’m really hesitant on everything. I’m hopeful that they will be, I’m hopeful that there’s a turn and that they’ll listen.”


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