Foothills Member of Parliament John Barlow says he can’t support the proposed Springbank reservoir the province is planning on building in his riding.
According to Barlow, since April of 2014 the cost has grown in both size and cost.
He believes the process hasn’t been transparent and wants to know what other options have been considered, if any.
“This has been something that I’ve been working on with the previous government and Minister Fawcett as well as the new provincial NDP government, the province hasn’t been able to prove to myself and the residents of the area that this is the best option,” he told 660 NEWS.
“The cost-benefit of this project, the number of the people that it’s going to protect. You know it’s probably going to impact more people negatively on the construction, and the ground it’s going to take up and it may protect the city of Calgary. I think we have to take a harder look if this is truly the best option, are there other alternatives.”
Barlow says the province hasn’t been forthcoming or open and wants to know what the parameters were in the process undertaken by Alberta’s Ministry of Environment.
“Is there one project that would have protected all of these communities? I spent most of my life in High River and we went through the 2013 flood and certainly flood mitigation is important but a lot of alternatives were considered.”
The project being proposed will sit in his riding, he says his office has been flooded with negative complaints and or comments about the lack of transparency and other options being considered.
“If we’re going to be doing something of this magnitude, we’re all concerned with floods and you never know they’re going to happen. You talk about a one in one hundred year flood and we’ve had four in the last few years, you only have one shot at this and we have to make sure we do this right.”
He’s unsure himself as to why the province is moving ahead, short of their reasoning that this is the fastest option to move ahead.
“I certainly have seen the budget go from $200-million to $600-million, to say this is the most cost effective, I don’t know if that’s the most legitimate case.”
Barlow says we can’t continue to be building developments in the floodway or flood plain and adds these are options that have yet to be discussed.
He’s asked the Ministers of Environment and Fisheries and Oceans to conduct a federal environmental assessment of the project, in hopes of slowing it down and giving those affected a chance for further input.
“They are very concerned about the environmental impact the impact this will have on their farms and ranches.”
“With people who live around there, they’re being asked to give up their homes and ranches to protect the city of Calgary when they don’t feel that other options have been discussed. Should you spending money on all these different projects when perhaps one larger project could encompass all of these mitigation measures?”