HIGH RIVER, AB (July 19, 2013): Today, the Wildrose Official Opposition is calling for the PC government to provide a new flood zone map and mitigation plan within the next 60 days for the communities of Calgary, High River, Canmore, Bragg Creek and Medicine Hat so flood victims can know where to rebuild their homes and businesses.
For many Alberta communities, there remains substantial confusion for homeowners and businesses about what properties are designated as being in floodways and floodplains due to out of date flood zone maps. Furthermore, current flood risk mapping does not account for new flood mitigation infrastructure projects, that if implemented, would significantly decrease the size of at risk areas, and therefore, the number of people and businesses forced to relocate. Recommendation 3 in the Wildrose 2013 Preliminary Flood Report calls for the government to enter into immediate consultation with municipalities and utilize independent third party engineers to draft a flood mitigation infrastructure plan, which includes determining what the new floodways and floodplains would be after new flood mitigation infrastructure is in place. While the new mitigation infrastructure is in the process of being built, Wildrose proposes providing home and business owners temporary flood insurance so they can immediately begin to rebuild. For those few homes and businesses where flood mitigation infrastructure cannot adequately protect property in future flooding events, government funds should be provided to rebuild somewhere safe. Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith said that after hearing the frustration and anger from High River residents in town halls last night, the government needs to immediately set a deadline so families and businesses can determine how to rebuild their lives. “We should have been working on redrawing flood zone maps including a flood mitigation infrastructure plan since flooding hit southern Alberta almost one month ago; we simply cannot delay any longer,” Smith said. “The government needs to make this a priority so communities across the province can begin to rebuild and so we can minimize the relocation of residents and business impacted by Flood 2013.” Wildrose Finance Critic Rob Anderson said that Albertans cannot rebuild properly or safely until they have access to updated flood zone maps based on a new flood mitigation infrastructure plan. “Albertans need to know what zones will be safe and which ones won’t be safe, and so far the government has only managed to cause confusion for people across the province,” Anderson said. “The clock is ticking; we’ve already lost 30 days since flooding hit Alberta communities; the government needs to get this done in the next 60 days max, so Albertans can begin rebuilding safely and responsibly.”