After two floods and a severe storm that dumped close to 300 mm of rain on the foothills during the month of June 2005, it is time to take stock. Many homeowners and businesses are facing major repair bills. The M.D. has to figure out how to get Bracken Road open again. The “waste transfer station” is overflowing with wrecked furniture, rugs and wallboard. Are we ready to consider a second access route for West Bragg Creek and Wintergreen? There is a mechanism in place to deal with this. The proposed Area Structure Plan will be up for discussion on July 6, 2005, 7:30 PM at Redwood House. You can use this process to make a change.
Mudslides and erosion have redrawn the map of Kananaskis. Bridges have been washed out. Trails have become flowing streams. There is a new island in the middle of Allen Bill Pond and creeks throughout the valley have found new routes downstream.
This has been an extraordinary month. Many records have fallen and everyone is reeling from the effects of mother nature. As dry weather returns and we look forward to a return to normal, we have an opportunity to take advantage of lessons learned and precedents set to make things work a little better and prepare for next time.
We need better sources of information about the area and the conditions of roads, trails and the environment. We need to increase awareness of important issues and we need to get together to ensure that we and our children can enjoy the outdoor experience in the future.
We need to take responsibility for this extraordinary resource – the mountains, trees and the water that flows through them. We need to ensure that the trails that provide access to the wild lands we enjoy, are maintained and reserved for recreational use. Our use of the trails has an impact on the environment and the animals that live in it.
Industrial interests want to extend their footprint on the wilderness. They want to clear-cut the forest, and install pipelines, access roads and wells in the Elbow Valley and West Bragg Creek. The work is underway and the proposals for further development are before the Energy and Utilities Board and Alberta Sustainable Resources. Only public pressure will be able to preserve the wild lands for future use. We need to ensure that the Elbow Valley district is reserved for recreational use.