Gateway Gazette

Springbank Reservoir to Get Federal Environmental Review

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) has announced that a federal environmental assessment is required for the Springbank Off-stream Reservoir.

The decision comes after the CEAA concluded its 45-day review of the project to determine if such an assessment is required. In accordance with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (2012), Alberta Transportation submitted the Springbank Reservoir project description to CEAA on May 6, 2016. The CEAA review, which included a 20-day public comment period, is a standard practice for projects that could meet or exceed certain triggers within the legislation.

“Our government understands the importance of this project to provide flood protection to Calgary and other communities downstream on the Elbow River. We are committed to building the Springbank Reservoir as quickly as possible while meeting all of the project’s regulatory obligations.”

Brian Mason, Minister of Transportation

A provincial environmental impact assessment (EIA) which began in March 2016 is underway and is examining a variety of elements, including but not limited to: air quality, noise, vegetation and wetlands, fish and fish habitat, wildlife, migratory birds, historical resources and traditional knowledge and traditional land use. The terms of reference for the provincial EIA are consistent with CEAA’s guidelines and requirements for federal environmental assessments. The proponent requirements for the federal assessment will examine these same elements.

Albertans will have an opportunity to comment on which aspects of the environment might be affected by the project and what should be examined during the federal assessment.*

Catherine McKenna, federal minister of Environment and Climate Change, can choose to refer the environmental assessment to a review panel or to review it in-house. This decision has to be made within 60 days of the start of the assessment.

Alberta is committed to ensuring that all regulatory reviews are done correctly at every stage and will work with the CEAA on the federal environmental assessment.

The Alberta government will communicate with Albertans as the project progresses.

Background

Designed as a dry dam unless flood conditions are present, the Springbank Off-stream Reservoir will work in tandem with the Glenmore Reservoir in Calgary. The combined storage capacity would accommodate water volumes equal to the 2013 flood. That flood was devastating for Alberta’s communities and economy – temporarily forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes and causing $6 billion in damage.

*Public Comment Period – Draft Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) has commenced a federal environmental assessment for the proposed Springbank Off-Stream Reservoir Project, located approximately 15 kilometres west of Calgary, Alberta.

The Agency invites the public to comment on which aspects of the environment may be affected by this project and what should be examined during the environmental assessment, as detailed in the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Guidelines. All comments received will be considered public.

Written comments must be submitted by July 25, 2016. 

In accordance with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, comments received and other documents submitted or generated to inform the environmental assessment are part of the project file. Accordingly, information submitted to the Agency that is relevant to the environmental assessment of the project is available to the public upon request and may also be posted on the online public registry under reference number 80123. The Agency will remove information, such as home addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses and signatures prior to public disclosure. Should you provide any documents that contain confidential or sensitive information that you believe should not be made public, please contact the Agency at CEAA.Springbank.ACEE@ceaa-acee.gc.ca or 780-495-2037.

~ Anna Kessler, Project Manager, Prairie and Northern Region, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency / Government of Canada

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