July 19, 2019 – BRFM Update

The following is an update on what BRFM has been up to over the last month:

3rd Party Engagement
Public Relations
BRFM has engaged John Larsen of Edelman until December to plan and help us implement a positioning strategy. The main focus will be on Council and the community, with John’s first action being to help us to define our key messages.
For more information, click on John Larsen at the link below. Of interesting note, but not referenced in his Edelmen bio, is that John spent a few years as an ‘issue manager’ for the City of Calgary with City executives working directly with John.

Michael Marion of Borden Ladner Gervais has been retained for legal counsel.

Westhoff Engineering Resources Inc. has been retained to conduct an Environmental Cumulative Effects Assessment. In July they conducted site visits to view the riparian zone.

New Board Members
Tobin Walker, Margo Pagonis and Brenda Parai are new additions to BRFM Board.

Property Access Requests
As the preliminary design phase progresses, there is a possibility that you will be contacted for permission for consultants to access your property. The access requests may come from The City or from BRFM’s consultants. It is important to understand who is asking for permission so that you can make an informed decision.

BRFM’s legal counsel has worked with us to provide a general access agreement that may be used by property owners who decide to give the City of Calgary and their consultants access to your property for the purposes of future studies and surveys related to the flood barrier project. You may wish to ask the City to use this agreement instead of the one that they offer, if the City requests access to your property.
The access agreement and a guideline for compensation is available to BRFM Members and requests for a copy can be made to info@bownessrfm.ca.
It is not necessary to wait for a specific access request from The City to email for a copy of the agreement. BRFM recommends requesting it in advance so that you have time to review it before being asked to make a decision.

Nature Walk with Gus Yaki
We had our second nature walk with Gus on Saturday, June 29. The nature walks have been a great opportunity to engage with our neighbours and other nature lovers, and to sign up new BRFM members. We have been sending Gus’s nature surveys from the walks to the City Bowness Barrier team
Learn more about Gus from the Nature Conservancey Web site at http://www.natureconservancy.ca/en/where-we-work/alberta/faces-of-ncc/leaders-in-conservation/gus-yaki.html

Community Outreach

“Slow the Bow” Campaign
We have launched a ‘Slow the Bow’ campaign (See attached photo).
‘Slow the Bow’ points to two of our key positions: build effective upstream mitigation to keep water out of Calgary and don’t waste money on an ineffective berm that will allow the river to flow much higher and faster than is currently accepted.

Bowness Stampede Parade & Pancake Breakfast – July 6th
Our campaign launch was very well received on July 6thand it was clear that many people in Bowness are very unaware of the City’s mitigation plans for Bowness and the downside of their proposed project. The City had an info booth at the breakfast and we felt it was very important to have a presence as well to spread the word that there are big unanswered questions and to balance the information that was presented.
15 volunteers represented BRFM in our new ‘signature’ t-shirts and handed out info cards and stickers while answering questions.
Tour de Bowness Street Festival
Monday, August 5
Bowness Road
11 am – 4 pm
BRFM has a booth at the Festival with the intention of having 2 volunteers manning the booth with other volunteers fanning out to distribute info cards and temporary tattoos (to kids).
We need lots of volunteers for this event so please consider helping out. Contact info@bownessrfm.ca with your availability.

Bowness Community Flood Mitigation Working Group:
The draft terms of reference describes the working group as follows:
“The Bowness Flood Mitigation Working Group is jointly established by Bowness Community Association and The City of Calgary to create a collaborative forum to build mutual trust and understanding, to provide input and advice, and influence flood mitigation solutions for the community of Bowness.”

Jean Woeller, Patti Peck, Hank Vrielink and David Burton are members, representing BRFM.
The membership of the Working Group includes victims of flood and/or live in the flood areas, those who were not flooded, those who own property within the proposed project envelope and may be asked to grant easements on their privately owned land for flood barriers, the Bowness Responsible Flood Mitigation Society, Mainstreet Bowness, invited subject matter experts and individuals from special interest groups such as the Bowness Heritage Committee and Bowness Seniors.

There have been 2 organizing meetings in May to define the terms of reference (still in progress)
1 info meeting in June of the full membership where City River Engineering presented on overall flood mitigation plans.

The working group gives BRFM another forum to influence the community of Bowness and find allies.

Government Relations – Provincial
BRFM has been successful in extensive networking at the Provincial level including the MLA for Bowness, Demetrios Nicolaides. Minister Nicolaides has been provided with briefing notes outlining our concerns about local flood berms and the importance of upstream flood and drought mitigation on the Bow River.
During Stampede week, David Chalack had many opportunities given his ties to the Stampede organization to network with other Provincial influencers including:

  • Demetrios Nicholaides, Minister of Advanced Education,
  • Devin Dreshan, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry,
  • Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment,
  • Jason Copping, Minister of Labour and Immigration,
  • Grant Hunter, Associate Minister of Red Tape Reduction,
  • Mike Ellis, MLA Calgary-West and Chief Party Whip,
  • Travis Toews, President of Treasury Board & Minister of Finance,
  • Ric McIver, Minister of Transportation and Deputy House Leader.

The above were all engaged in a discussion of the need and rationale for upstream mitigation as a priority on the Bow River – to protect all of Calgary with the added benefits of water storage for future use by Calgary residents and others in Southern Alberta, especially agricultural development through more irrigation and water for Agri Food processing.

BRFM’s membership is growing but we need your help to expand our membership further. Bigger membership numbers that extend beyond Bowness sends a strong message to the City so get your friends and family to join.