Friday, February 27, 2015

Taxpayer group questions worth of $309-million flood mitigation project

This is the area in Springbank that would be affected by a provincial government plan to build an off-stream reservoir for flood mitigation.
Colleen De Neve / Calgary Herald

Taxpayer group questions worth of $309-million flood mitigation project

by Matt McClure, Calgary Herald, Feb 27, 2015

A new study says Premier Jim Prentice’s pledge last fall to build a dry reservoir to protect Calgary against future floods from the Elbow River at a cost of $309 million makes economic sense.

But a taxpayer lobby group says the cost-benefit analysis of the Springbank Off-Stream Storage project fails to account for the amount and likely price of the land the province will need to purchase so it can construct the massive canal and dam west of the city to divert and hold excess waters during a disaster.

The study by IBI Group Inc. figures the province will have to pay $4o million to acquire around 700 hectares, but the government’s own documents show it will need over 1,400 hectares that a land valuation expert consulted by the Herald conservatively estimates would cost taxpayers at least $139 million.

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