CALGARY, AB (July 18, 2013): Today, the Wildrose released 22 recommendations in response to Flood 2013, and called on the government to take action to mitigate future floods, and to minimize the relocations of residents and businesses impacted by the flood.
The Wildrose 2013 Preliminary Flood Report: Rebuilding and Preparing for Future Floods provides 22 recommendations of what should have been done to better prepare for Flood 2013, how relief and recovery efforts must be improved, what should be done to help victims recover and how the province can mitigate the damage caused by future flooding. The Report breaks down seven areas of provincial responsibility during Flood 2013 and outlines failures by the current PC government to prepare for this year’s flooding, including failing to act on the vast majority of recommendations included in the 2006 Flood Mitigation Report. “Albertans need to know that although Flood 2013 could not have been prevented in its entirety, the failure of the provincial government to heed repeated warnings and prepare appropriately for severe flooding, has resulted in far more damage and hardship than was necessary,” Wildrose Official Opposition Leader and MLA for Highwood Danielle Smith said. “The 22 recommendations in this report, when implemented, will ensure that affected communities and families can rebuild and know that they are safe moving forward.” Highlights of the report’s 22 recommendations include:
- Implementing and completing the recommendations contained in the 2006 Flood Mitigation Report.
- Implementing a provincial flood mitigation infrastructure plan that will allow the vast majority of flood victims to rebuild homes and businesses on their current properties without the need for forced relocation.
- Helping those in areas that cannot be made safe from future flooding to relocate to safer areas.
- Protecting taxpayers by ensuring a fair cap on the funding any one business or home can qualify for with the goal to provide enough funding to replace the typical family home or small business, rather than pay the full cost of multi-million dollar homes and businesses.
- A review of Alberta’s early warning system and why it was unable to properly notify local authorities and residents in advance of high water levels.
- Improving Alberta’s financial preparedness for future disasters by rebuilding the soon to be exhausted ‘Rainy Day’ Contingency Fund and annually budgeting for disaster response and recovery.
“These are sensible recommendations that identify what needs to improved, how we provide compensation for flood victims and how to prepare for future floods,” Smith said. Wildrose House Leader and Finance Critic Rob Anderson said that even though the size of Flood 2013 was rare, it was neither unprecedented nor unpredictable. “The PC government is culpable for a significant portion of the damage incurred during Flood 2013,” Anderson said. “The province failed to implement the recommendations of multiple flood mitigation reports, hid those reports from the public for years, approved and collected taxes on development in dangerous areas, and spent the money set aside in the ‘Rainy Day’ Fund making it necessary to borrow billions to recover and rebuild. Albertan’s deserve better than this from their government.”