Calgary Moves to Protect Waterways

March 13, 2003
An aldermanic committee approved the creation of a program to protect Calgary's waterways from harmful materials.

The erosion and sediment control program would take a proactive approach on environmental protection of the city's rivers and drinking water.

Terry Prince, engineering manager for wastewater and drainage, said the department is in a difficult position because of the cost of federal and provincial penalties. Fines for an infraction can reach a maximum of $1 million per day and can include concurrent fines.

The city has already received some investigative orders and warning letters from Alberta Environment and Fisheries and Oceans Canada for infractions. Without additional resources, Prince said it is difficult to adequately track others.

Mark Bennett, executive director of the Bow River Basin Council, said the "easiest way to trace pollution is to not have it occur in the first place."

He said the city needs to continue its efforts to protect the environment.

Aldermen on the committee agreed and approved a $131,000 increase to hire two employees for the erosion and sediment control program for the rest of 2003, and $177,000 to continue it in subsequent years.

The recommendation will now go to budget finalization on March 31.

Source: Calgary Herald