BRFM Society January 2020 Update

Happy New Year!

Action Item: Provide input to the Province on upstream flood mitigation as a budget priority (see last item below)

Meeting With City General Manager, Utilities & Environmental Protection
Just prior to the New Year, members of BRFM (Jean Woeller, David Chalack and Jason New) met with senior leaders at the City – Dan Limacher, General Manager of Utilities & Environmental Protection and Francois Bouchart, Director Water Services Planning – to discuss the berm project in Bowness and to ensure that they was aware of our concerns and the complexities of the project regarding cost, design and social impact.

The meeting was very productive and met the objectives of ensuring that our message was heard by higher levels within the City and that BRFM was understood to be organized, well informed and serious. Notice was delivered!

A commitment was made by Dan Limacher to meet with BRFM again. We are working toward scheduling the next meeting before the middle of March.

Meeting With Provincial Cabinet Minister for Environment and Parks
On January 28, members of BRFM (Jean Woeller and David Chalack) met with Minister Jason Nixon to discuss our need for, and strong support of, upstream mitigation on the Bow. There was agreement in the importance of (1) a seamless transition to the feasibility stage of the Bow Basin Water Management study and (2) the renegotiation of the TransAlta Modified Operating agreement that reduces flood risk to Calgary by reducing the peak flow rate by approximately 300 m3/s.

Also in attendance was Mark Comerford, Director Resilience Projects, Watershed Adaptation & Resilience, Environment and Parks.

BRFM extends a most sincere thank you to MLA for Calgary-Bow and Minister of Advanced Education, Mr. Demetrios Nicolaides who was instrumental in BRFM having the opportunity to meet with the Minister. Minister Nixon specifically noted that Mr. Nicolaides is a very strong advocate of upstream flood mitigation for the communities he represents.

Bowness Flood Mitigation Community Working Group
The Bowness Flood Mitigation Community Working Group now has a website that describes the purpose of the Working Group as well as meeting minutes and presentation materials. Both the minutes and materials are very good resources if you are feeling disconnected with what has been going on with the project. (BRFM has four members that sit on the working group along with other members of the community and Bowness Businesses, along with representatives from the City)

January Meeting
The January meeting was primarily an update and planning meeting following the holidays and a reflection on whether the Working Group has been effective and how to better engage more of Bowness. The City shared their upcoming engagement plans, which include further door knocking and potentially a series of monthly project related topic presentations for the public. The new project manager, Amy Stansky, gave a project update.

The minutes for this meeting are not yet approved, so for further details please check the Working Group website for the approved minutes in the next week or so. This will include more specifics on the project update.

February Meeting (Upcoming) – Social Cost
The upcoming February Working Group meeting will focus on the ‘Social Cost’ criteria for the Triple Bottom Line analysis that the City uses to evaluate projects. The City committed to having the working group participate in setting the criteria for Social Cost of the Barrier Project and at the February meeting, the City will hopefully provide real guidance on what that means and how the criteria will be used.

Independent Review of Groundwater Study
Following the recommendation of the Working Group, the City put out a Request for Proposal (RFP) for an independent technical reviewer for the Groundwater Study. Advisian is the firm that was selected and will be doing their review in parallel with the KCB Groundwater Study, which means they will be reviewing the Study in phases to allow KCB to incorporate any comments/recommendations Advisian may have before proceeding to the next phase. The project team has advised that KCB and Advisian have been in contact and the first phase of review will be commencing shortly.

Community Outreach
To ensure the broader community has access to balanced information, a Slow The Bow flyer was delivered to all properties within the flood fringe zone and to businesses within Mainstreets Bowness (this initiative is 95% complete).

A heartfelt thank you goes out to the volunteers who took the time to help deliver the flyers during such a busy (and cold) time of year.

Member Call to Action:
Help Ensure Upstream Flood Mitigation on the Bow River Continues
The deadline for completing the short survey is Friday, February 7 at 4:30 pm
The province is looking for input on the provincial budget for 2020. To help ensure that flood mitigation for the Bow River is a spending priority, BRFM is asking members to complete the survey below.
One survey question asks for input on ‘what spending priorities do you think government should focus on’? BRFM recommends including the following in your response:
(1) continued funding for the feasibility study for Bow Basin Water Management Options
(2) renegotiation of the TransAlta modified operating agreement during flood season