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Alberta Party releases updated six-point flood recovery and mitigation plan, calls on province to commit to firm timelines

Posted on June 16, 2014 by Katherine Taylor

As a new series of high streamflow advisories and flood watches are issued for Southern Alberta, the importance of acting quickly on flood mitigation has never been clearer, says Alberta Party leader Greg Clark.

“Flood mitigation must be a top priority for the province and we need to see aggressive timelines to prevent the devastating flooding we saw last year” said Clark. “Upstream flood mitigation is the key to saving Alberta taxpayers money in the long run and preventing the impact of future floods on our communities and businesses.”

Clark called on the province to ensure adequate resources are allocated to flood mitigation planning and for the province to commit to firm timelines.

“These are large projects and we must consider the cost to taxpayers, but given the impact of the 2013 flood and the fact that without adequate mitigation future flooding could cripple downtown Calgary, the economic engine of Western Canada, doing nothing could cost many times the investment in mitigation.”

Clark said that spending on flood mitigation should not take away from other areas in need of investment.

“This shouldn’t be an either / or conversation,” said Clark. “Alberta needs to build schools, we need to build transit and we need to invest in healthcare. With a long-term plan we can do it all.”

Clark proposed Alberta Flood Recovery Bonds to help offset the cost of mitigation projects. These would be offered at rates similar to Canada Savings Bonds and are a more cost-effective means of covering flood expenses than going to the debt market.

“Albertans, and Canadians, are generous people,” said Clark, “Alberta Flood Recovery Bonds would likely be popular with people looking for a secure fixed-income investment who also want to help their neighbours recover from the most devastating natural disaster in Canadian history.”

Clark also criticized DRP payment delays and the floodway buyout program.

“It’s been one year since the flood and DRP payments are delayed for many,” said Clark. “The money spent on floodway buyouts, which are unnecessary if upstream mitigation projects are completed, should be used to enhance DRP.”

Clark issued an updated version of the The Alberta Party Flood Recovery and Prevention Framework first released in the fall. It is a comprehensive approach that ensures flood recovery is efficient, cost-effective and fair. It’s a systematic plan that ensures Alberta will not see devastating flooding ever again.

The highlights of the plan are as follows:

  • Recover – Eliminate the floodway buyout program, reallocate that money and put it toward the DRP program and upstream flood mitigation.
  • Rebuild – Apply the same model used for debit cards in the immediate aftermath of the flood to DRP payments; get money in the hands of Albertans as quickly as possible so they can start to rebuild.
  • Mitigate – Move forward as quickly as possible with permanent upstream mitigation measures, including an enhanced plan for the Bow River. Ensure watershed management and land use planning consider flood impacts.
  • Mapping and Insurance – Update all flood plain maps once upstream mitigation projects are completed, work with the insurance industry to provide overland flood insurance.
  • Planning and Warning Systems – Work closely with municipalities to ensure emergency response plans and lines of communication are clear, improved upstream forecasting to provide as much advance warning as possible for future events.
  • Alberta Flood Recovery Bonds – Issue low-interest bonds as a cost-effective means of paying for flood recovery.

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