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Few details on $32 million Tsuut’ina grant agreement for Springbank Off-stream Reservoir

The terms of a $32 million provincial grant received by the Tsuut’ina First Nation in exchange for their withdrawal of opposition to the Springbank Offstream Reservoir (SR-1) are subject to a non-disclosure agreement.  

In a Facebook post Tuesday, the Tsuut’ina First Nation said they were able to negotiate the grant with the province.

It’s for, “among other things, flood mitigation, restoration and prevention,” the statement read.

“In return for this grant, we have removed our opposition to the Springbank Off-stream Reservoir (SR-1).”

The statement also said their concerns are still on the record and that the project must still get environmental approval.

“With this said, the grant is not conditional upon the approval,” the statement read.

“We have not given up our inherent and Treaty rights and have not given up our rights to water.”

In a statement provided to LiveWire Calgary, the province said they’re glad to have an agreement.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the Tsuut’ina Nation that will provide them with flood mitigation measures, and we will continue to consult with our First Nation partners and impacted communities to address their concerns,” it read.

Details of the grant terms and the potential flood projects are bound by a non-disclosure agreement. Every grant agreement, however, is subject to grant regulation and could be audited by Alberta’s Auditor General.

Non-disclosure agreements on grants do happen, the province said. It’s not necessarily given all the time, however.

Flood mitigation around Redwood Meadows

In a previous interview, Tsuut’ina spokesperson Gordon Olsen said the flood mitigation measures were to protect the Redwood Meadows area.

“I don’t have an exhaustive list, but I know that many of them are related to that,” Olsen said in an April 14 interview.  

“The Redwood Meadows area… there’s a festival and powwow area in that area. So just to make sure that any potential problem for Tsuut’ina land or for Tsuut’ina residence was mitigated.”

Olsen said a change in the approach from Chief Roy Whitney and Alberta Transportation Minister Ric McIver enabled the agreement.

Attempts to reach Olsen via email for comment on the grant weren’t immediately returned.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he hadn’t heard about the $32 million grant, but reiterated the project’s importance.

“We must build upstream flood mitigation on the Elbow River,” said Mayor Nenshi.

“I’ll say to the province of Alberta, you know what, thank you for doing everything you can to clear whatever barriers remain in the way.”