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SWCRR - Calling on the Alberta Government to build a better bridge across the Elbow River Valley

We are a group of community residents that are concerned about a bridge being built over the Elbow River. The bridge is part of the Southwest leg of the Calgary Ring Road, which the government is currently constructing. As the Ring Road passes through the environmentally sensitive Weaselhead Flats, it will come to a point where it will have to cross the Elbow River.

We are concerned that the proposed style and type of bridge being built will negatively impact local wildlife, cause considerable damage to the river and potentially create significant flood risks for both upstream and downstream residents. 

We are committed to working with the government to build a better bridge. 

Alone, our voice is small, but together we can bring these issues to the attention of the government and help ensure the sensitive Weaselhead Flats are preserved and that future flooding is mitigated.

Please browse the pages on this website to understand more about the upstream and downstream consequences and design problems.

Click here to download a copy of the report that was submitted to the Alberta Government 

Concerns with the Southwest Calgary Ring Road (SWCRR)

24 Wetlands Approval 

The Application was for only 6-8 lanes and not the 16-18 lanes that is being built.

  • The SWCRR TUC is 285 m wide and at intersections up to 600 m wide.  The road right of way (ROW) is 220 m wide
  • The average width of the SWCRR median is 100 m wide and in some places it approaches 150 m wide
  • Outer lanes adjacent to people’s homes are being built first, e.g. right up against the back of homes in Cedarbrae.
  • Highway 401 in Toronto west of Dufferin Street is 16 lanes and only 98 m wide
  • There is no other highway in the world in an urban setting with a 100 m wide median

Alberta Environment and Parks used the 1993 Wetland Policy as opposed to the Alberta Wetland Policy (2013), which was required for all applications where fieldwork was completed after May 31, 2015.

  • Fieldwork for the Wetland Impact Assessment was completed in October 2016).
  • The AMEC Environmental Assessment (Update 2104) only included 10 out of the 24 wetlands. 

In addition to the above, the Water Act Approval has the following deficiencies:

  • There was no attempt to avoid or minimize the damage to any wetlands in the SWCRR right of way; the proponent went straight to compensate
    • This contravenes the Environmental Appeals Board of Hanson & Lindberg vs. the Director (2014)
    • Even the Provincial Wetland Restoration/Compensation policy has the hierarchy of avoid, minimize and compensate
  • There was no options analysis and no cost benefit analysis
  • No Regional impact analysis
  • No Hydrological assessment
  • The application did not include the impacts to the watershed and source water
  • The application did not include the area water management plan and the stormwater management plan for the ring road and adjacent communities
  • No Cumulative impacts assessment
  • No Hazardous goods risk assessment, including risk to drinking water
  • No Wetland relative value assessment 
  • No social impact assessment
  • The application did not consider the adverse impacts to biodiversity and species at risk
  • The application did not include the assessment of harm to adjacent lands and especially the Special Protection Natural Environment Park (the "Weaselhead")

Further, the City of Calgary’s interactive “Vulnerability Map” shows that Oakridge and our drinking water is "very high risk" if there is a contaminant spill at the Clay Marsh (11.65 ha wetland W11).