FAQ

BRFM strives to provide accurate information to residents of Bowness and our members. Our published data is backed up by references and information is provided in a clear format.

Some of our information was obtained through Freedom of Information (FOIP) requests to the City of Calgary. If members would like to read information BRFM has obtained through FOIP requests, please email info@bownessrfm.ca.

Q: “There’s a lot of jargon when talking about floods, flood risk, flow rates, etc. Can you direct me to glossary of terms?”
A: Please visit the City of Calgary, Water Services website for a flood-related glossary of terms.
(https://www.calgary.ca/UEP/Water/Pages/construction-projects/Construction-projects-and-upgrades/Flood-related-Glossary-of-terms.aspx)

Q: “What is the actual overland flood risk today in Bowness?”
A: The City has published 12% (1 in 8 years). The Province of Alberta has informed BRFM that the risk is 5%. And an interpolation from the city-commissioned Associated Engineering (AE) report (Permanent Flood Barrier Assessment, April 2018), results in 3.7%. (Table 6-3 AE report)

Q: “Will the proposed berms prevent a 2013 flood?”
A: The AE Report indicates no.
(The chart found here:
http://www.calgary.ca/UEP/Water/PublishingImages/FloodInfo/Bow-River-Max-Flow-Full-Size.jpg indicates the peak flow rate for 2013 was 1840 m3s)

Q: “I heard that the City proposal is actually a new upstream reservoir complemented with a berm. Is there a commitment for a new upstream reservoir?”
A: No. In response to a request for funding, the Deputy Minister of the Alberta Environment has indicated in writing to The City: “I understand the City is developing its flood mitigation strategy under the assumption that a large scale storage structure will be built on the Bow river in the future; however, it is premature to include this option in the current multi level support”. In May 2019, we re-confirmed this is still the position of the Alberta Government.

Q: What about this ground water flooding I hear about?
A: As the river rises, the water table inland rises due to porosity of the strata near the river. The proposed berm (which does not go to bedrock) cannot stop the rising of the river inland through the ground. The AE report has different flood scenarios with and without the berm. The vast majority of houses that would be overland flooded without the berm will be flooded by groundwater with the berm. (Page 104)

Q: Will the berm have an environmental impact?
A: Yes, The BRFM has been performing a tree inventory. Although the path of the berm is not finalized, if The City puts up a berm or a wall, there will be a significant loss of trees and shrubs. Our estimate is approximately 3500 trees. Trees are not allowed to be replanted on a berm.

Q: Why is The City initially proposing a berm instead of a wall?
A: Berms are cheaper and feedback from the citywide consultation indicates people prefer the look of a berm.
(AE report 2017: Flood protection is planned for Bowness to the 1:20 year return period. A dyke is proposed behind the residential properties along Bow Crescent NW between the CP Rail Tracks and the playground at 6704 Bow Crescent NW. A second dyke between approximately 64 Street and the Shouldice Bridge will provide additional flood protection in the community. Several sections of concrete flood wall will be necessary where properties are closer to the Bow River. Easements will be required to accommodate the flood protection. Average Height 1.1 m, Average Width 9 m – Flood barrier designs consist of dykes and concrete flood walls. Typically, dykes are the most cost effective and are therefore considered wherever there is sufficient space. Concrete flood walls are used where space is limited The dominant themes heard from participants on structural measures include: – Expedite implementation of flood mitigation measures to enhance flood protection. – A combination of reservoirs and berms/barriers are required to provide sufficient flood protection. – Berms are preferred to floodwalls as they are more aesthetically pleasing.)

Q: Were people told that berms and walls require trees be cut down and the number for each?
A: Not that we know of. But this is a typical problem with how some types of consultation play out, where people are not given the complete picture, prior to giving feedback.
https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cons/pol.html Unequal access to information, or inaccurate assumptions about the knowledge base of participants can negatively impact on the effectiveness of a public participation exercise.)

Q: Were Bownesians consulted on the decision to go ahead with berms?
A: Not as a group, nor was the Bowness Community Association, nor were the vast majority of directly affected residents. The City consulted citywide to determine what should be done in Bowness.
(FOIP request 2018-G-0121, BRFM survey of those residents in which the berm is proposed.)

If anyone would like to read information BRFM has obtained through Freedom of Information requests, please email info@bownessrfm.ca.