Sunnyside is one of several vulnerable locations along the Bow River that remains at risk from another 2013-level flood.

Over the last two years, we’ve been working with the community to explore different options for a flood barrier in Sunnyside to help prevent another devastating flood like Calgary experienced in 2013.

We heard from residents that a higher flood barrier is desired and their feedback helped re-shape the barrier option being proposed. A What We Heard, What We Did Report is available and outlines the overall engagement process and how feedback was used.

Following the results of the evaluation that included a full social, economic and environmental assessment, we will be recommending to Council to move forward with design and construction of a 1 in 100-year flood barrier for the Sunnyside community.

For more information about the process that led to this recommendation, please review these slides.

This recommendation is going forward to Council through the Utilities and Corporate Services Committee on April 15. Please see the Next Steps section below for details on how you can participate.

We are holding some live online Q&A sessions for people to ask questions of the project manager and the technical team. If you would like to participate, please see the dates on the right side of this page and register here.

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Karen Matharu

Project Manager

Karen is the project manager for the Sunnyside Flood Barrier Project.

Technical study team

This team completed the technical studies for the Sunnyside Flood Barrier project. They can answer your questions about any of the studies that informed our recommendation.

Communications and engagement team

This team helped liaise between the project team and the community to ensure that community feedback was available to inform the project and that project updates reached the community.

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In Sunnyside, flooding can happen when the flow rate is approximately 927 cubic metres per second (m3/s), which has a 10 per cent chance of occurring each year. Because the community was developed so close to the Bow River, there will always be a risk of flood. That said, we can also work to lessen this risk by implementing flood mitigation measures: a key one being the construction of a permanent flood barrier along the riverbanks of the community.

Currently, The City is proposing to design and construct a permanent flood barrier in Sunnyside. The proposed Sunnyside flood barrier is a foundational piece of the City of Calgary’s Flood Mitigation and Resiliency Plan. In conjunction with upstream storage, provided by construction of a new reservoir and modified operations of TransAlta’s Ghost reservoir for five years, it will help us manage flood water and avoid the type of damage we saw in 2013.


This project is in the preliminary design stage. During this stage, The City along with design and engineering consultants will be gathering detailed information about the area, conducting site surveys, completing engineering studies and analyses and consulting community members, businesses and local interest groups to develop recommendations for exactly what the barrier could look like.

Project Timeline


We recognize that input from you is key to making this project a success. As we kick off the project, we are collecting input on the unique characteristics of the Sunnyside community that will need to be considered in the design. This information will help to guide the engineers and landscape architects who are working on the preliminary design for the barrier.

Please see the boards that were presented at the public session here.

The What We Heard Report for Phase 1 of the engagement can be found here.

This feedback form is now closed. Thank you for your contributions.

Based on your experiences and thoughts about Sunnyside, we would like to know what you like about the area, what you don’t like and what you think needs to be improved. Drag the map around to find a location or feature you would like to provide a comment for. Click "add marker", type your comment, and select "I like this", " I don't like this", or "Needs improvement". Add as many markers as you wish.
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Your input is essential as we continue to consider potential options for a flood barrier in Sunnyside. You can learn more about flood mitigation options for Sunnyside in the informational boards from the September 24 Open House. These boards also show the early design options for the different flood barrier heights and their potential impacts on the community.

The maps with proposed barrier alignments can be found here (please note that these are large files and may take more time than normal to download; they also may be difficult to view on a mobile device):

Your input on the social criteria for the barrier options will be included in the triple bottom line analysis to determine the best option for Sunnyside. This analysis also includes environmental and economic criteria which will be evaluated based on regulatory requirements and subject matter expertise. The decision on what design recommendation will be provided to Council will be made using this triple bottom line analysis and will be presented first to the community, along with results from groundwater studies, in early 2020.

If you have any questions or would like further explanation on some of the technical information included in the boards, please email

  1. Maintains community fabric - Preserves the look and feel of the area #
  2. Provides the same flood protection amongst communities - Balances the community-specific needs with the need for a strong, city-wide flood resilience plan #
  3. Protects vulnerable populations and services - Protects vital community services (i.e. schools, daycares, senior facilities) and Calgarians, who because of age, disability or other circumstances are at greater risk in emergency situations that require evacuation #
  4. Maintains recreation and river access - Maintains or improves access to the pathway system, river and natural areas #
  5. Maintains the aesthetics of the area and pathways - Maintains pathway aesthetics and river views #
  6. Improves mental well-being - Reduces flood-related stress and anxiety #

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The survey form is now closed. Thanks for your contributions.


On April 15, Administration will bring forward to Council the 1 in 100-year barrier height recommendation for Sunnyside via the Utilities and Corporate Services Committee. The Committee meeting will be webcast live on A copy of the report will be available at a few days before the meeting.

You’re welcome to provide written submissions regarding the report at, which will be added to the Corporate Record. Feedback may alternately be provided directly to Councillor’s Offices, or to the project team at Anyone wishing to speak remotely to the meeting, or inquire about attending in-person can call City Clerk’s Office at (403) 268-5861 or email for details and registration.

Pending Council approval, we would aim to complete the construction of the flood barrier in time for the spring 2022 flood season.

The groundwater evaluation is still underway, results and recommendations are expected to be shared with the community late spring 2020.