It’s been almost one year since the devastating flood that hit Calgary homeowners and businesses last summer. Not only did some areas experience twice as much rain in 48 hours than the normal average of the entire month of June (on June 20 Calgary saw 45 millimeters of rain, breaking the record of one-day rainfall), but a major aggravating factor was the lack of absorbent ground to soak up the massive rainfall. Urban centres like Calgary are increasingly filled with pavement and concrete, which blocks the ground from absorbing the heavy rain. This leaves the rain with nowhere to go except into homes, businesses and infrastructure.

Residents, businesses and government officials have been working to find ways to mitigate the risk of a similar future event. Today the University of Waterloo and insurance company Intact Financial Corp. announced the “Depave Paradise” pilot project, which includes Calgary as one of five cities across Canada this summer that will see some of its asphalt removed and replaced with porous gravel and brick.

Some of the Depave Paradise projects include restoring urban wetlands, carrying out home audits so owners can properly flood-proof their homes and properties, and constructing bioswales which function as temporary holding tanks for large amounts of rainfall.

At Matrix our people are the foundation of our business and the effects of the flooding on our employees, clients and partners was devastating. We hope that this and other similar projects help protect Calgary in the future. 

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