Minister's Response – Chin Reservoir Expansion and Modernization Project

Physical activities

The St. Mary River Irrigation District (the Proponent) is proposing to expand and modernize the Chin Reservoir, an off-stream reservoir on the St. Mary main canal located south of Taber, Alberta. As proposed, the Chin Reservoir Expansion and Modernization Project (the physical activities referred to as the Project) would increase the reservoir's flood capacity, including relocation of the east dam and upgrading existing reservoir structures to align with provincial dam safety regulations. The Project would increase the reservoir's water storage capacity by 128 million cubic metres and the footprint of the flooded area by approximately 708 hectares.


The Project does not warrant designation.


Pursuant to section 9 of the Impact Assessment Act (the IAA), I, Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, considered the potential for the Project to cause adverse effects within federal jurisdiction, adverse direct or incidental effects, public concerns related to these effect, as well as adverse impacts on the Aboriginal and Treaty rights of the Indigenous peoples of Canada. In forming my opinion, I took into account the analysis prepared by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada.

I am of the opinion that the designation of the Project is unwarranted for the following reasons:

  • The regulatory processes that currently apply to the Project and related consultations with potentially impacted Indigenous peoples provide a framework to address the potential adverse aforementioned effects and impacts, and concerns raised by Indigenous peoples and members of the public. These processes include:
    • the provincial environmental assessment and approval process under Alberta's Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, which includes enforceable approval conditions to mitigate potential environmental effects for all stages of the development;
    • the provincial legislation, as applicable, such as the Historical Resources Act, Water Act, Wildlife Act, Public Lands Act, Soil Conservation Act, and Weed Control Act; and,
    • the federal authorizations, approvals, and reporting requirements that may be required under the Fisheries Act; Species at Risk Act; Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994; and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.
  • The Canada Infrastructure Bank is expected to provide financial assistance, in the form of a loan to be repaid by the Proponent, for the purpose of enabling the Project to be carried out. The Canada Infrastructure Bank is responsible for meeting all of its legal obligations, including responding to the Duty to Consult to Indigenous groups and ensuring that the Project has met environmental assessment and other regulatory requirements.
  • The Project must be carried out in compliance with provincial and federal legislation, including the Fisheries Act; the Species at Risk Act; the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994; and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.

Document Reference Number: 2

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