Calgary River Communities Action Group Update

CRCAG is back from the break and we want to give you a summary of where things are at on a number of different topics.

1. Call to Action
As we move into 2014 we continue to advocate for upstream and other mitigation measures. We ask that you our members join with us to express our unified and collective voice by emailing and calling your elected representatives. Let them know that you expect the Province, City and Federal Government do what is necessary to protect the City of Calgary and other impacted communities from the devastating impact of flooding. It is imperative that those in the position to make these important decisions hear from you en masse.

Personalized notes are always more meaningful than form letters, but in order to make things simpler for some of you this is an example letter:

“Dear Elected Representatives,

I would like to add my voice to those calling for effective and timely infrastructure mitigation measures so as to protect my community from the devastating flooding that hit us last year. I understand that mitigation measures have been proposed and I look forward to seeing these measures implemented as soon as possible. Not only do I want to hear clear commitments to the dry dam and tunnel proposals, but I would also like to know what, if any, new emergency plans are in place for next flood season.

The impact of the flood has not gone away. The City of Calgary cannot sustain another flood of this magnitude. The economic, physical and psychological devastation is still very real and palpable. “

Here is a list of email addresses you may wish to forward this email to:

Province:
Premier@gov.ab.ca
Minister.MunicipalAffairs@gov.ab.ca
Calgary.hays@assembly.ab.ca (Ric McInver- Infrastructure)
Rick.Fraser@gov.ab.ca

City of Calgary:
TheMayor@calgary.ca
gian-carlo.carra@calgary.ca
druh.farrell@calgary.ca
ward.sutherland@calgary.ca
brian.pincott@calgary.ca
evan.wooley@calgary.ca

Federal:
Joan.Crockatt@parl.gc.ca
Rob.Anders@parl.gc.ca


2. Meeting with New Municipal Affairs Minister and the Water Collaborative
CRCAG Executive will be meeting with Ken Hughes, the new minister of Municipal Affairs next week. Minister Hughes has taken over from Doug Griffiths. His department is responsible for the Southern Alberta Flood Recovery Task Force. Upon hearing of Minister Hughes’ appointment we reached out to him and he was enthusiastic about meeting with us. We intend to fill the Minister in on all the goings on of the past several months, convey our members deep concerns regarding mitigation, the DRP and the ongoing impact of the flood to the city.

The next Water Collaborative is now January 23. We will be in attendance and we will report back to you updates on the mitigation measures.

3. DRP and Catastrophic Damage

For those who are still struggling with DRP, please know that some of our members have received good news. Policy changes with regards to older homes have resulted in an increase in some payments. We would like to thank Steve Allan and Dave Allen for their dogged pursuit of DRP officials and for letting us know when they were making progress. At CRCAG we continue to advise you to stay with it after you file. Changes are still afoot and we are hoping for more and more stories where relief is offered. Do not give up on your individual files.

4. Property Tax Assessments
We have been hearing from a number of you with regard to 2014 Property Tax Assessments. The City of Calgary has provided us with information with regard to the assessment process. As there is little consensus from our membership on this matter we have made the decision to not pursue any formal mandate in this regard. We hope you find the information provided useful.

5. Personal Mitigation Measures
One of the initiatives CRCAG is undertaking is to help members identify options for protecting property from future flood events related to one or all of:
A. Sewer back-up
B. Ground water seepage, and
C. Overland floodwater.

The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) is an organization funded by Canada’s insurance industry that addresses various issues dealing with disaster prevention, including floods.

On their web site at www.iclr.org are two excellent publications:

  • Handbook for Reducing Basement Flooding, and
  • Best practices for reducing the risk of future damage to homes from riverine and urban flooding.

We encourage you to visit the website and download the publications as we believe they contain very useful and practical advice.

The week of May 4 to 11 has been proclaimed “Emergency Preparedness Week” across Canada and there will be several events in Calgary that will deal with flooding. The ICLR is planning to feature one or two homes in Calgary that will showcase several of the flood mitigation measures they recommend. Also during that week the Calgary Emergency Management Agency is hosting “Disaster Alley” at McMahon Stadium where several of the city services (fire, police, rescue) will be demonstrating various disaster prevention and response measures.

CRCAG is discussing with the City of Calgary the merits of an Exhibition or Trade Show where contractors could display their products and services as they relate to flood prevention and mitigation. Details on exact times and locations of these planned events are not yet final, but we will keep you informed as things progress.

Anyone who has any suggestions on ways to protect our homes and belongings, please forward to us and we will share with the CRCAG membership.

6. Snow Pack Information and Thoughts
We know that many of you are worrying about the snow pack at this time of year. Here are a few snowpack plots and observations for your interest. Our amateur and totally unprofessional understanding is that it is the higher elevation mountain snowpack that is relevant when it comes to assessing snowpack contribution to flood risk, rather than local prairie or foothills snowpack. The reason for this is that the low elevation (local snow) will be long gone by the time that spring rains arrive in the primary season for flood risk and high stream flow (last 2 weeks of May until second week of July roughly).

NOTE: It is important to note that the bulk of the high alpine snowpack has yet to arrive. The alpine snowpack will build and peak in early May so things will likely change dramatically from now until then depending on the weather. Things could be completely different by then. You can see by these plots why we get so much runoff in a short time from the snowpack as the snow pack peaks in early May, but is all gone by near the first week of July. Combination of spring rains with the fast melting Alpine snowpack is what typically puts us at most risk.

CURRENT BOW SNOW PLOTS

The Sunshine plot is still below average. (Bow River)
http://www.environment.alberta.ca/apps/basins/DisplayData.aspx?Type=Figure&BasinID=14&DataType=4&StationID=SUNS

Skoki Lodge (Lake Louise) feeds the Bow and Red Deer Rivers is below average
http://www.environment.alberta.ca/apps/basins/DisplayData.aspx?Type=Figure&BasinID=14&DataType=4&StationID=SKOK

Three Isle Lake (feeds Kananaskis / Bow) is below average
http://www.environment.alberta.ca/apps/basins/DisplayData.aspx?Type=Figure&BasinID=14&DataType=4&StationID=TISL

CURRENT ELBOW SNOW PLOT

Little Elbow has now moved to above average (most relevant for Elbow)
http://www.environment.alberta.ca/apps/basins/DisplayData.aspx?Type=Figure&BasinID=14&DataType=4&StationID=LELB

The information provided by CRCAG is for information purposes only, and should not be relied on. Official government websites and other sources of information are recommended to be consulted.

Source: www.crcactiongroup.com

Bob Sheddy

Bob Sheddy

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CENTURY 21 PowerRealty.ca
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