An initiative to lower high levels in a Bearspaw pond before winter was downgraded to a next year’s project.
“I would suggest…you may not see any pumping before the spring,” said General Manager Byron Riemann.
On Oct. 11, Bearspaw representative Coun. Eric Lowther brought in an emergent motion to lower the water levels in a pond in the Meadow Drive area.
“The water in the primary pond is higher than it’s ever been in the fall (and) has caused some property damage,” said Lowther, adding the pond is now over 14 feet deep in a spot that 25 years ago was almost dry.
“The County has done extensive pumping…about four years ago,” said Lowther. “Some roads had to be built up and re-paved and protected.”
However, Riemann said overland pumping will require approvals from Alberta Environment as well as from downstream neighbours through whose properties the pumped water would run.
An amount of $70,000 available for emergency funding, Riemann said, has already been spent in pumping operations in the Langdon area, making necessary extra funds that will need Council’s approval.
Lowther said his motion provided flexibility in regards to the type of action and its timing.
“The motion is not prescriptive. It’s only saying, ‘take appropriate action to address the situation’” said Lowther. “I am not defining what appropriate action is.”
Coun. Margaret Bahcheli said the issue of Bearspaw floods has been dragging for too long.
“This is not new to this Council,” she said. “I have no problem bringing public money and public property to try to solve this problem.”
Bahcheli also said development with inappropriate storm water management contributed or created the area’s flood issues.
“The lack of drainage in this area is a private developer’s mistake as far as I am concerned,” she said.
An MPE Engineering master drainage plan for Bearspaw completed in 2009 proposes to provide drainage routes by “re-interconnecting ponds that had been inadvertently blocked or redirected by development activity.”
Riemann said implementation of the master plan is on hold until easements from private landowners through whose land drainage channels would need to run.
In March 2013, Council rejected an application to create three two-acre parcels in the area because of flooding concerns.
However, last November Council approved eight additional two-acre lots on Meadow Drive at a time where Bearspaw had not yet an elected representative.
Land-use for the new subdivision was approved 7-1, with Coun. Jerry Arshinoff casting the lone vote in opposition.
In 2013, the Rocky View Weekly reported that a staff member estimated the County was spending more than $300,000 per year pumping in the area.