Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Five years after the 2013 Southern Alberta flood, Calgarians demonstrate resiliency

Five years ago, heavy rains fell on a melting snowpack upstream of our city, sending water rushing towards Calgary and other Southern Alberta communities. City officials issued a flood warning, declared a state of emergency and gave an evacuation notice for communities at risk. Evacuees and citizens whose homes and businesses were flooded faced trauma and loss.

Mike Eberhard, Kim Myers and Kathryn Hatch experienced flooding and evacuation. What they also have in common is a strong connection to their communities and their homes, and the desire to find a way to manage future flood risks.

After they completed work to remove the flood debris from their properties, they decided they were going to take steps to ensure if another flood happened, they would be prepared. Watch their exceptional stories to learn what actions they took, demonstrating remarkable determination and resiliency.

Building flood-resilient communities is a top priority for the City of Calgary. We cannot prevent river flooding but we are working with citizens, and our provincial and federal partners to reduce its impact. Together with the Province, we have committed more than $150-million towards projects that have reduced our risk of river flood damage by approximately one-third since 2013. We are working towards full implementation of our strategy, which includes a combination of measures at the property-, community- and watershed-level that all work together to protect Calgary against another flood the size of 2013.

Citizens have a critical role to play in preparing for river flooding and protecting their property. Calgary is most at risk of river flooding from May 15 to July 15. River flooding impacts all Calgarians – whether you live, work, commute or recreate along the Bow or Elbow Rivers, or in the city centre – it’s important for every Calgarian to understand their flood risk, be prepared and stay informed. Citizens can learn more at, search their address online to see if they are at risk from flooding, sign up for our bi-weekly flood readiness e-newsletter, download our Flood Readiness Guide and learn how to prepare a 72-hour emergency kit.

Friday, June 15, 2018

RECAP: 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Meeting – June 12

On June 12, the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Assessment Committee met for the fifth time to discuss the:

The assessment committee was introduced to Calgary 2026 (formerly Bid Corporation) Chair Scott Hutcheson. Serving the needs of citizens, Alberta and the Canada, Scott wants to establish a proper return on both a community (public good, value to Calgary and region) and financial (revenues) investment. Calgary 2026 is electing its board members this week, followed by hiring a CEO. 

Here’s a summary of the items discussed between Scott and committee members:
  • Scott is resigning from the boards he currently serves to prevent conflicts of interest. He will remain on Aspen Properties Board, as it is his day job. 
  • Recognizing Calgary 2026 is a separate organization, of which The City is one of six partners, the organization will ensure there is transparency. 
  • Transparency is most important to building trust with Calgarians. 
  • The bid needs to reflect Calgarians’ spirit; Calgary’s story, and the city’s and region’s aspirations. 
  • Calgary 2026’s working toward a diverse work team reflecting a mix of genders and generations, cultural backgrounds, indigenous peoples, and others.
  • Calgary 2026 is considering adopting Calgary City Council’s Code of Conduct, as its own. 
  • Under the current president (Thomas Bach) and new Deputy Olympic Games Executive Director (Christophe Dubi), the International Olympic Committee is forming a picture that shows the IOC safeguarding the uniqueness of the Olympic Games and strengthening sport in society, but implementing Agenda 2020, underway since 2015.
  • Calgary 2026 is planning a session between the Assessment Committee and the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and the IOC. 

City Secretariat update

Now that Calgary 2026 is operational, The City of Calgary and other orders of governments are establishing Secretariats. The City of Calgary’s City Secretariat will have eight dedicated work streams to keep Council and Calgarians informed: City building/programming, essential services, planning, reporting and risk management, communications, legal, finance, issue management, and research.

The City Secretariat will require funding, but the cost of this group is covered through The City’s already-approved Operating Budget. There is no extra cost to tax payers; the cost will be reported to Council for approval.

The City Secretariat acknowledges the local and global risk to Calgary. It is working to mitigate these and other identified risks, including working with other orders of government to review their respective lessons learned.

Bid Book Overview

The Bid Book is the document that Calgary 2026 submits to the IOC, if Calgary chooses to bid on the 2026 OPWG. It is the document that the IOC reviews when deciding on the host city. The book is made up of 132 questions; the answers making up the book.

The Bid Book is due to the IOC, Jan. 11, 2019.

Areas covered within the Bid Book:
  • Vision and Games Concept: Vision, Mission and Values of the Calgary 2026 OPWG; venues and locations, etc. 
  • Games Experience: Spectator/Local Community, Athlete, Media
  • Paralympic Winter Games: competition schedule, planning and Games delivery 
  • Sustainability & Legacy: aligning Games with City policies, Games benefit to current challenges, cultural concept, community development 
  • Games Delivery: operating budget including a Host Corporation, third party-review of operating budget, security, revenue streams, transportation, accommodation (including understanding role of short term rentals), food and beverage, medical and anti-doping (chartering samples to Montreal’s drug testing lab is estimated to be less costly than building a temporary lab in Calgary which could cost $20 million dollars) 
  • Guarantees: contracts with hotels; affordable housing sites, financial agreements for housing, Federal Government and Canada Olympic Committee endorsement, human rights and safety, anti-doping complying with World Anti-Doping Agency, etc. 

Benefits to the bid, without the 2026 OPWG

The Assessment Committee discussed the benefits to Calgarians of the work underway regardless whether or not the bid move forward. Some of these benefits include:
  • Information can be transitioned to the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund (OCIF) board for their economic development, job creation and marketing plans to help boost Calgary’s economy; including, bidding on other large-scale events, from trade shows to sport competitions. 
  • Venue assessment: current status, required upgrades, new facilities
  • Accommodation
    • Processes for large bookings for events and conferences
    • Transportation network planning
    • Concepts for culture programming
    • International exposure through the bid process

Committee meeting recaps

For more information about the Olympic bid project, visit

Monday, June 11, 2018

RECAP: 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Meeting – June 5

On June 5, the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Assessment Committee met for the fourth time to discuss milestone dates and the Games concept.

In addition to this week’s committee update, the Chair of the Bid Corporation (BidCo) was announced on Thursday, June 7, at the Olympic Oval, with Scott Hutcheson as BidCo Chair. BidCo will clarify the vision and details of a potential Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, and will develop a more accurate hosting cost estimate. BidCo will also produce a Bid Book, which would be submitted to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in January 2019, if all parties decide to move forward with the bid and the IOC selects Calgary to become a 2026 Candidate City.

City Team presentation and discussion


June is an important month for Calgary’s potential bid on the 2026 Games. Here are some project milestones:

  • June 8-10: Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) Board meeting in Banff: Calgary Mayor and BidCo Chair attending.
  • June 19: IOC-Calgary bid team meeting in Switzerland. One City employees are expected to attend; the IOC is funding the trip.June 23: COC decides whether to endorse Calgary’s bid.
  • June 25: Regular Meeting of Council: government submission review.
  • June 30: Deadline to submit government submission: details the operating and capital costs of the 2026 Games; mission, vision and value of the 2026 Games; Games concept: venues and locations; governance; communications; Bid Corporation; risks and mitigation; and milestone schedule.
  • July-August 2018: Committee meetings continue, as required.
  • July-August 2018: Government submission analysis and multi-party agreement negotiations for 2026 Games cost to The City and the governments of Canada and Alberta.
  • September 2018: Multi-party agreement results, including cost of the Games and who is paying what amount.
  • October 2018: IOC formally invites cities to bid on the 2026 Games (candidature stage)
  • November 2018: Calgary plebiscite: citizens vote on whether or not Calgary should bid on the 2026 Games.
  • January 11, 2019: IOC deadline to submit Bid Book.

Draft Games concept

A Games concept is a preliminary proposal that:

  • Identifies venues for the majority of Olympic and Paralympic sports.
  • Identifies locations for these venues.
  • Confirms if and where these venues require upgrades, or if a new venue is required.

The IOC’s Agenda 2020 program sets out new expectations for how cities use existing and new venues:

  • Reducing cost of bidding on and hosting the Games.
  • Using existing facilities, regardless of location and seating capacity.
  • Ensuring new facilities are part of the city’s current plans and future needs (with or without the Games).

The closed portion of this meeting covered details of the current draft Games concept:

  • Detailed list of venues and operation status in Calgary and surrounding areas
  • Competition and training venues
  • Athletes village
  • Venues for ceremonies and celebrations

Committee meeting recaps
May 29 meeting recap
May 15 meeting recap

For more information about the Olympic bid project, visit

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Improving stormwater drainage in SW Calgary

rain flowing into a storm drain
We’re improving stormwater drainage in Woodlands, Woodbine, Cedarbrae, Braeside, Palliser and Pump Hill. In recent years, these areas have had an unusually high number of heavy rainfall events resulting in flooding. To better manage this stormwater, we are upgrading infrastructure across the southwest and installing dry and wet ponds.

Major improvements

    A map of the Woodlands Woodbine Community Drainage Improvement projects
  • A new dry pond at Southland Drive & Braeside Drive SW (March – August 2018) 
  • A new underground storm trunk in the median of 24th Street SW (June 2018 – Nov 2018) 
  • A new storm pond constructed in Bebo Grove day use area (2019 – June 2020) 

Secondary improvements (August 2018 & July/August 2019)

  • Proposed installation of inlet control devices (ICD’s) 
  • Replacement or upgrade of catch basins and manholes 
  • Storm sewer diversions 
  • Improvement of overland spill routes in the local neighborhood

New 24th street storm trunk diversion details

A new underground storm trunk will be installed in the median of 24th Street SW from Woodview Drive SW to Woodpark Blvd. SW and south into Fish Creek Provincial Park. 

Construction of the storm trunk diversion consists of excavation, underground piping, backfill and road restoration. Construction impacts will include:
  • Increased traffic on 24th Street S.W. (construction crews, trucks hauling materials to and from site)
  • Construction noise
  • Staged closures of 24th Street S.W. south of Woodview Dr. complete with detours. Access to the communities of Woodbine and Woodlands will be maintained through Woodview Dr.
  • Tree removal
  • Access road into Fish Creek Park will be closed to vehicles during construction of the portion of the storm trunk under the access road
The storm diversion will significantly reduce flooding that occurs along 24th Street SW and in the communities of Woodbine and Woodlands as the new trunk will be . During heavy rainfall, overall vehicle and pedestrian safety will be improved, traffic congestion reduced and emergency vehicle access unimpeded by flooding.

New Bebo Grove storm pond details

A new storm pond will be constructed in the Bebo Grove day use area of Fish Creek Provincial Park. The pond be a hybrid wet pond-wetland where wetland water levels will vary with the seasons and amount of rainfall. A new asphalt trail will be constructed around the south perimeter of the pond to connect with existing trails in Fish Creek. Construction will be ongoing throughout summer 2019 with landscaping to be completed in summer of 2020. 

Construction of the pond consists of earthworks (excavation and grading), underground piping and landscaping. Construction impacts will include:
  • Increased traffic to the Bebo Grove day use area of Fish Creek Park (construction crews, trucks hauling materials to and from site)
  • Construction noise
  • Access road and day use area will closed to the public for the duration of construction. Pedestrian and cyclist access will be maintained into and throughout the park.
The storm pond will allow for storage of stormwater during rain events and improve the quality of the water discharged to Fish Creek by separation and settlement of suspended solids. Newly created picnic areas and lookouts surrounding the pond will provide spaces for park users to enjoy the improved aesthetics of the Bebo Grove area and the wet pond will attract more bird and wildlife species.

About the Woodlands Woodbine Community Drainage Improvements (WWCDI) program

The above projects are a result of the WWCDI program, launched in 2010 to mitigate flooding in areas throughout the city. Drainage studies were undertaken to come up with solutions to areas that were frequently hit by flooding caused by extreme rainfall events in older areas of the city. When a drainage study is completed, a set of solutions are developed to mitigate flooding in the area. Solutions can be a combination of adding additional storm drainage pipes, increasing the size of drainage pipes and adding storm ponds to help mitigate flooding.

These drainage improvement projects aim to reduce the chance of flooding from 20% down to 2%. This brings the system up to a level that is current to City of Calgary servicing standards.

Learn more about each of these projects and stay up to date at

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

RECAP: 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Meeting - May 29

On May 29, the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Assessment Committee met for the
third time to discuss the:

  • Plebiscite (vote of electors)
  • Public hearing
  • Vision update
  • Financial and value proposition update

Plebiscite: vote of the electorate
We are now working on the plebiscite questions and date. We discussed Vancouver’s question from the 2010 Olympic/Paralympic Winter Games and we’re considering more information within the plebiscite questions, to give more context. The Government of Alberta will also review the question(s).

In September 2018, we will provide a recommendation on the plebiscite question(s) and date. The timing of this announcement aligns with when we expect citizens will know the cost of the 2026 Games and who is committed to paying what amount.

This schedule allows citizens time to know and consider the information, so they can make an informed vote. We expect a high turnout at the plebiscite, based on statistics from past Calgary elections (58 per cent in the last municipal election).

Through summer and fall 2018, our responsibility is to communicate and promote the opportunities for citizens to participate in the public engagement events, including the plebiscite.

Public hearing
The committee voted against holding a formal public hearing and directed Administration to review what other options are available for committee members and Council to hear directly from citizens.

A public hearing is non-statutory; the committee would hear and consider all information, regardless if a majority of citizens presents a certain view on the 2026 Olympic/Paralympic bid. Council would then consider this information, when deciding on whether to bid on the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Ideas and considerations that surfaced between the committee and Administration:

  • Align all public engagement efforts.
  • Ensure citizens have the right information about the bid and the 2026 Games process, for an appropriate amount of time, before participating in the plebiscite.
  • Confirm a specific topic for public input (e.g. bidding on the 2026 Games, hosting the 2026 Games, etc.) for a hearing of the public.
  • Allow Council to hear from citizens, which can unveil what other goals and aspirations can be, or not be, realized through a bid.
  • Hosting just a plebiscite doesn’t explain the “why”.
  • Ensure Calgarians and Council have the right amount of information, before they decide whether Calgary bids.

Producing content will be one of our biggest challenges, as most of the information will be confirmed through early fall.

visioning exercise is underway to establish a vision, mission and values, which will be the foundation for the Bid Corporation’s potential bid. As one of the Bid Corporation’s (BidCo) members, we will ensure the vision reflects Calgary’s own vision and values, as they define what the 2026 Games could do for Calgary (and region), beyond just hosting the sporting event.

After two visioning sessions attended by all members of BidCo and a number of stakeholders, including representation from youth, business, sport, municipal government and indigenous people; a draft vision, mission and values was created. The committee identified a stronger involvement was required from the arts community, which will be included moving forward. The vision, mission and values will be released after the BidCo, Sport Canada and the Province of Alberta review them.

Financial and value proposition overview
Knowing the value and cost of the Games to Calgary helps Council and citizens determine if we should bid, which is based on five principles for pursuing the 2026 Games. We will do a cost-benefit analysis, which considers a number of items, based on if we choose to or not to host the 2026 Games:

  • Capital (construction, upgrades and maintenance of facilitates)
  • Operating costs
  • Risk, including mitigation strategies
  • Affordable housing
  • Economic activity and job creation
  • Tourism
  • Community involvement
  • Reputation

Most importantly, all Olympic infrastructure and facilities will be considered with Calgary’s existing infrastructure priorities and needs.

If Calgary chooses to submit a bid, it requires financial commitments from all levels of government. We expect Council to know the capital and operating cost estimate for hosting the 2026 Games in July 2018.

View the May 29 presentation.


There are lots of moving pieces on the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games bid project. We'll be publishing blog posts about the regular 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Assessment Committee meetings, to give you more insight into the work being done on the project.

The committee's purpose is to provide guidance to Administration, as we explore a potential 2026 Games bid. 

Committee Meeting Recaps
May 15 meeting recap

For more information about the Olympic bid project, visit