Water for Calgary

For immediate release
June 20, 2006

A groundswell of concern erupted out of the Bragg Creek – Gateway to Kananaskis web campaign opposing clear-cut logging in Kananaskis.

ANNOUNCING: The Bragg Creek Environmental Coalition meeting on a plan to conduct extensive logging in Kananaskis and the effect that will have on Calgary's water supply.
Date: Wednesday, June 21
Time: 7 p.m.
Where: Mount Royal College, the Jenkins Theatre, room I115

Water for Calgary

Clear-cut logging can cause increased runoff and flooding. This could affect the City of Calgary's water supply. The Elbow River watershed supplies almost half of Calgary's water. The watershed is essential to support the growing demand for clean water.

Under the Forest Management Agreement between Spray Lakes Sawmills and Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, logging is the primary economic asset of Kananaskis. The cost of water treatment may out-weight the revenue generated by the forestry industry alone. Add to that the lost jobs and businesses in the recreation and tourism. New York City recognized this cost and bought their watershed.

Impacts of deforestation on water supply

Barren land left after a clear-cut does not hold water. Increased flooding results, stretching water filtration plants to the extent of their ability to cope with the sand and dirt in the water. Bigger plants have to be built. Nutrients and silt load the creeks and rivers, choking them off and allowing algae blooms to grow. This affects both the amount and quality of the water supply.

- 1/2-million people visit the area annually
- jobs and the livelihood of tourism businesses all along the foothills are at risk
- the quality of Calgary's water supply will suffer
- wildlife and their habitat will disappear along with biodiversity
- government policy places industrial use above recreational in what should be a protected park.

As a Bragg Creek business person, a stakeholder in the Spray Lakes Sawmills consultations and owner of the Bragg Creek - Gateway to Kananaskis web site, Doug Sephton, makes the calculation equating 150 Spray Lakes jobs with the 150 jobs and the livelihood of business people in Bragg Creek and along the foothills. Add to that the upset to 1/2-million people per year that visit the Elbow Valley (reduced enjoyment or extended travel time to reach the wilderness). Then add the effect on the quality of the water supply for 450,000 Calgarians. The equation just doesn't work. Our economy is in transition. There is greater potential for growth and diversity in the economy through tourism and recreation than there is in logging.

The confusion caused by two branches of government working at cross purposes is troublesome. Sustainable Resource Development is facilitating industrial development that allows for clear-cuts, pipelines, roads, and heavy equipment in Kananaskis, while Community Development won't allow TransRockies' 600 mountain bike riders to pass through the area on one day of the year due to environmental effects. This has a direct negative impact on business in Bragg Creek, Black Diamond and Canmore. Other events face similar restrictions. Recreational use has a negative impact on the natural landscape, but industry is taking a greater toll. The multi-use policy in Kananaskis is not working. Industry is displacing people and wildlife.

Visit for more info

Doug Sephton
Bragg Creek - Gateway to Kananaskis