Concerns About City's Flood Mitigation Study

The results of the City-Wide Flood Mitigation Study were recently released, along with a proposed strategy to spend $2.6 billion over the next few decades to enhance Edmonton's preparedness for a 1-in-100-year flood event.

Ward 4 residents should be, as I am, troubled by a number of points raised in this study — particularly those people in the neighbourhoods surrounding Fort Road.

Not least of these concerns is the fact that, of the 16 public engagement consultations surrounding the proposed strategy, not a single consultation was sought within Ward 4. I look forward to seeing which neighbourhoods in Ward 4 are "still being considered for further flood mitigation work," however this information will only be available AFTER the City Council has made the decision with respect to the overall strategy.

Despite the poor quality of the map below, it appears the Fort Road area and surrounding communities would be significantly impacted by a 1-in-100-year flood event, on par with a number of areas similarly coded on the south side that have been addressed in the study. The City of Edmonton website states that "Ward 4 hasn't had flood mitigation work done yet, since it hasn't experienced significant flooding from storms to date."

FloodStudyMap.jpg

The stated overall purpose of the study was not to develop a strategy based not on past weather events, but to take a proactive approach to future preparedness and mitigation.

I was a leader of a provincial award-winning team tasked with assisting residents and small businesses of Southern Alberta in their recovery from the 2013 floods, a 1-in-100-year flood event like the ones modelled here. I have worked extensively with flood mapping and mitigation projects, including those with respect to building in flood zones. Most importantly, I have witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by overland flooding on communities and small businesses. My concerns are based on what I have seen Albertans live through with major flooding of the type being considered in this study.

Notably, Preparedness and Mitigation are two of the four "pillars" of Emergency Management, along with Response and Recovery. Any city-wide strategy that fails to address these pillars equitably on behalf of its residents is problematic, in my view.

The link to the study documentation can be found here: https://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/utilities/city-wide-flood-mitigation-study.aspx

 

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