As part of the Biophysical Impact Assessment (BIA), wetlands within the plan area are evaluated on their environmental significance and their potential to be retained, compensated for and/or replaced elsewhere. Historical photographs are also reviewed to identify previous impacts to the wetlands that may have resulted in changes to the amount of water in the wetland and/or the shape and size of the wetland.
Most of the wetlands within the development have been previously impacted by development of the surrounding lands. In some cases, the wetlands have become wetter and in other cases, the boundaries of the wetland have shifted from the natural locations. The option to retain all or some of the wetlands in place was explored; however, in order to maintain a natural wetland, the surrounding upland catchment area must also be maintained to ensure the wetland receives sufficient water to retain its functions.
The upland catchment area consists of the lands surrounding a wetland that naturally drain into the wetland following rain events or snow melt. Water naturally moves towards the low spots on the landscape, and in the prairies, many of these low spots contain wetlands surrounded by drier uplands. In the case of the Arbour Lake Development, maintaining the appropriate upland catchment areas would not allow the development to meet the goals of the Calgary Municipal
Development Plan (MDP) or many of the other requirements for a safe and sustainable community including traffic accommodation, emergency access, water and sewer servicing, etc.
The MDP acknowledges these competing priorities by ensuring any wetland loss is properly compensated for. As part of the approvals process, impacts to wetlands may be compensated for through replacement by restoration, enhancement, and creation of wetlands as part of wetland conservation projects completed throughout Alberta.
Hopewell is committed to wworking closely with the City of Calgary and Alberta Environment & Parks to ensure impacts to wetlands within the development are addressed following all applicable policies and legislation. To help address the loss of wetlands within the development, we are proposing to build a naturalized pond within a larger park space to provide wildlife habitat and stormwater management within the development. The park space will also include a walking trail and other amenities for the community to enjoy.