The City of Calgary Expert Management Panel has released The River Flood Mitigation Panel Final Report for approval by City Council. In the report, it's revealed that the proposed tunnel taking water from the Glenmore Reservoir on the Elbow River to the Bow River will cost $457 million for construction and engineering, double that of the original estimate of $200-290 million. More details are provided in the Report to Priorities and Finance Committee, including that the project has been deemed feasible by the engineering firm Hatch Mott MacDonald.
New In The Report
Aside from a new price tag, the report also comes with a new path for the tunnel. The original proposed path was from the bottom of the Glenmore Reservoir, under 58th Avenue, and into the Bow River. The new path is from within the Glenmore Reservoir, under Heritage Drive, into the Bow River.
Reactions So Far...
The report happened to be released (or at least seen by media) mere hours before the Calgary River Communities Action Group Annual General Meeting. For those unfamiliar with the group, they formed shortly after the flood last year and have been advocating for the protection of their communities from future flooding. This meant some raw reactions from that group as they heard not only the news, but the first public comments from Mayor Nenshi and Premier Hancock who were attending the AGM.
River communities advocate calls for a Nenshi Network, a là Winnipeg's Duff's Ditch. Now the Glenmore Reservoir tunnel is $457M+, aka "gulp"— Jason Markusoff (@markusoff) June 13, 2014
Nenshi says unsure Alberta must do Glenmore Tunnel AND McLean dam AND Springbank storage. murmurs in crowd. "Build it!" 1 woman had cried.— Jason Markusoff (@markusoff) June 13, 2014
Premier Dave Hancock is non-committal on the $500M Glenmore R. tunnel. Says financial sky isn't the limit, but AB will do what's necessary— Jason Markusoff (@markusoff) June 13, 2014
There have also been a trickling in of reactions from those who did not attend the CRCAG AGM.
The report comes with the following recommendation:
Recommendation: In partnership with the Province, compare the three major capital works options for mitigating floods on the Elbow River and identify the optimal investment plan:
i. A diversion from the Elbow River to the Bow River in accordance with the conclusions of the feasibility studies.
ii. The Springbank off-stream diversion and storage site.
iii. The McLean Creek dry dam.
If the recommendation is followed, it seems there may be a winner take-all from the three options above. The report to committee further elaborates on this: "An integrated evaluation by the Province, in collaboration with The City, of the costs and benefits (operational, environmental, economic, safety) of all three options is needed".