Alberta Party Flood Recovery and Prevention Framework
November 28, 2013
Edmonton - The province should issue low-interest Alberta Flood Recovery Bonds to help offset the cost of flooding, says Alberta Party leader Greg Clark. 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.”
DRP payment delays have put thousands of homeowners in a very difficult position and the province should immediately take the same approach they took with debit cards in the early days of the flood; a low-barrier, immediate DRP payout based on level of damage.
“It’s been more than five months since the flood and DRP funds are still just trickling out. An immediate fixed payout will get homeowners and small businesses on the path to recovery more quickly,” said Clark. “The money should be provided on the explicit understanding that it is subject to audit and all provisions of DRP still apply. This streamlines administration and gets the money into the hands of the people who need it as quickly as possible.”
Clark also reiterated his position that floodway buyouts of up to $175 million are a bad deal for taxpayers and won’t prevent future flooding.
“The stated goal of the buyouts is to ‘clear the floodway’ but this won’t happen if buyouts are voluntary,” said Clark, noting that less than half of eligible homeowners have applied for a buyout. “This will leave houses in harm’s way, won’t reduce the impact of future floods and will create ‘Swiss cheese communities’” said Clark. “Most buyout situations will see some homeowners receive full assessed value often in the millions of dollars where many of their neighbours are receiving less than 20 cents on the dollar in DRP funding.”
Worse still, says Clark, provincial money spent on buyouts is not eligible for 90% reimbursement by the federal government, where money spent on flood mitigation is. Clark says the province should abandon buyouts and put the money towards upstream flood mitigation.
The Alberta Party Flood Recovery and Prevention Framework is a comprehensive approach that ensures flood recovery is efficient, cost-effective and fair. It’s a systematic plan that means we won’t see the devastating floods of 2013 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; 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.
For further information please contact:
David Benson, Media Relations