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Lacombe Lake

Photo by Anita Alexander

press release

Ecojustice, Calgary resident file to halt stormwater drainage in Lacombe Lake

August 14, 2020

CALGARY – Ecojustice, acting on behalf of Calgary resident Anita Alexander, has filed an appeal to overturn a decision that would allow the town of Blackfalds, Alta. to drain stormwater into Lacombe Lake.

Located about a 20-minute drive north of Red Deer, Alta., Lacombe Lake is an important habitat for nesting shorebirds and waterfowl, moose, porcupine, skunk, snakes and salamander, as well as a stopping point for migratory birds such as trumpeter swans.

The lake is also a popular recreational site for canoeing, kayaking, rowing, birdwatching and swimming. Alexander’s family has owned property on the lake since 1960.

Barry Robinson, Ecojustice lawyer, said:

“The plan to drain stormwater from Blackfalds into Lacombe Lake threatens water quality, local wildlife, and locals’ ability to enjoy the lake for recreational purposes.

“Urban stormwater runoff contains metals, salts, nutrients, oil, grease, and bacteria. The decision to approve the stormwater plan was made without a proper analysis of how these substances could contaminate the lake.

“This is just one example of how Alberta continues to use the province’s few wetlands and lakes as catchments for urban stormwater. Fortunately, when governments fail to do what it takes to protect these important ecosystems, Ecojustice is ready and willing to work with communities, First Nations, other environmental organizations, and individuals like Anita to protect the air, land, water, and biodiversity.”

Anita Alexander, Calgary resident, said:

“I’m working with Ecojustice to challenge the stormwater plan because I feel a real connection to the natural world and I’m prepared to fight so that future generations can have access to it.

“I’ve been swimming in Lacombe Lake for 60 years now. In that time, I’ve watched moose swim across the lake, gazed at fireflies, listened to loons and watched them playing in the water. My mother, who is now 101, lived here until she was 100 years old.

“Places this special are few and far between. That’s why, together with Ecojustice, I am fighting to prevent stormwater from causing permanent and irreversible damage to this place that I love.”


Ecojustice goes to court and uses the power of the law to defend nature, combat climate change, and fight for a healthy environment. Its strategic, innovative public interest lawsuits lead to legal precedents that deliver lasting solutions to Canada’s most urgent environmental problems. As Canada’s largest environmental law charity, Ecojustice operates offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, and Halifax.

Anita Alexander is a Calgary resident and Ecojustice client. Her family has owned property on Lacombe Lake since 1960.