Three unique perspectives from those close to the KCGC flood (Audio)
PGA of Canada Head Professional
May-June of 2013
It was an imperfect storm of a number of factors that caused the flooding. These included:
- Above average amount of snow pack in the Rocky Mountains around the Kananaskis area.
- Above average amount of rainfall during this time of year. The water table levels are extremely high making it difficult for high amounts of rain to find a place to go
- Runoff from high volume rains and significant snow pack is much higher than normal.
- The massive weather system responsible for the storms was trapped over southern Alberta by a high-pressure system to the north and winds blowing toward the west. That high pressure system prevented the storm from moving north and the Rockies were preventing it from moving west, so it’s stuck right over regions like Kananaskis that saw the flooding.
Thursday June 20, 2013
- 5:00 am – the banks of the Evan Thomas at the Southern-most portion of the golf course start to break down with unusually high volume.
- Throughout the day a tremendous amount of water from the swollen Evan Thomas and Kananaskis Rivers spills onto both golf courses and causes massive erosion and damage. Flood water is filled with silt, rock of all sizes, fallen trees, and other debris. As the water reaches across both golf courses and loses some of it’s speed and momentum, it starts to deposit all of these materials all across both Mt. Kidd and Mt. Lorette.
- Highway 40 was washed out in numerous locations from Highway 1 to the golf course making transportation impossible. For some time nobody could get out of the valley on the highway and nobody could get in.
- The entire golf course along with the driving range were impacted by the effects of this flood. Miraculously the damage done to the buildings at the golf course was minimal. High volume rains caused some leaking inside buildings which needed attention. The only buildings that had significant damage caused by the flood waters were the Mt. Lorette snack shack and the on course washrooms.
Friday June 21 – Friday June 28, 2013
- Rains continued on Friday and the sky started to clear on Saturday the 22nd.Golf course damage has been evaluated as best as possible with washed out roads and newly eroded water channels throughout the golf course.
- With Highway 40 being washed out for a few days this week, the golf course served as the heart of the community. For much of that time there was no power or running water. People gathered at the tournament center to be fed by the golf course with food it had on hand for tournaments that were going to be hosted that week. People played board games and cards in the clubhouse while others took the time to evaluate for themselves the damage that mother nature had done to the area. It was a surreal time for all there and the golf course facilities served as the host to what many said felt like being at summer camp.
- Very difficult conversation on Saturday June 22 at 1:00 PM at our RTJ tournament center with our 150 team members that the golf course was closed for the season and that we no longer had work for them. Spent the next week meeting with many of these individuals to help them find work at other locations across Canada. The outpouring of help from other businesses to take on our staff after the flood was one of many silver linings that came out of this difficult time.
- The breach on the Evan Thomas River was capped and no more new water entered the course. The slow process of drying up began and in so doing, the amount of materials brought by the flood became that much more obvious across both golf courses.
- As waters receded, we were better able to get out onto both golf courses and evaluate first hand the damage that was done during the flood.
- Department of National Defense were called in due to the state of emergency caused by the flood. They assisted in temporary road reparation and other services to ensure the health and safety of the individuals who were trapped in the area because of the flood.
- Kan-Alta Golf Management and Golf Course architect Gary Browning worked together to evaluate the damage done to both courses and create an estimate for restoration.
- Once Highway 40 opened back up, the Pro Shop served as a host to thousands of visitors who came to pay homage to one their favorite places.
- A liquidation sale was held with the original goal of trying to move as much merchandise as we could as our Pro Shop was fully stocked for a normal busy season. What we didn’t count on was the incredible outpouring of support and emotion that came through those doors each and every day that we were open in the summer.
- Many guests had tears in their eyes as they described how important this place was for their very own special reasons. Truly a surreal and special time that served as a silver lining to the shock caused by the flood. It was as cathartic for our guests to tell their stories to our team as it was for us to get the chance to hear and share in the stories of how special these golf courses are to so many people across the world.