December 26, 2017
Government of Alberta
Minister of Environment and Parks
Dear Ms. Shannon Phillips
I am writing to you today to discuss the SWRR bridge design over the Elbow River/Weaselhead area and the subsequent EAB hearing and its related report. (November 24th, 2017 Environmental Appeals Board’s decision and recommendation report related to the Public Hearing of Jeff Brookman and Allie Tulick’s appeal of the AEP’s Director’s approval of KGL Constructors Water Act Application 00388473-00-00, i.e. the Director’s approval to fill in 24 wetlands within the Southwest Calgary Ring Road corridor.)
I fully appreciate that your portfolio is challenging as Alberta faces many environmental issues, this bridge being only one, but I would like to implore you to consider that you and your government have an opportunity to take a strong stand on this. Albertan’s count on our government to protect our investments and long-term interests. Our current environmental legislation attests to this desire but our regulations are only as good as the enforcement of them.
This bridge design contravenes many of those regulations that have taken into account the unique wetland area, the damage wrought by the previous flooding on the Elbow and many other issues faced in this area. This ring-road is not being built for a moment in time but for our future transportation needs. We have waited 50 years to see it come to construction which would suggest we have had plenty of time to identify the sensitive areas and also to develop bridge designs that would accommodate them. A projects cost does not simply involve the dollars and cents of the immediate construction costs but the long-term costs, that in this case, money will not be enough to purchase a replacement ecosystem.
I have been involved with a number of organizations who have their own environmental concerns be it species at risk or watershed management and one theme emerges time and again; environmental rules and regulations are not being enforced or infractions are not being monitored. This is resulting in a death by a thousand cuts to our beautiful province. I and my fellow Albertans would appreciate you releasing this report to the public and please make sure this bridge design respects those findings.
Romy S. Tittel