WHEREAS the Government of Alberta, through the Alberta Emergency Management Agency assists municipalities and residents affected by disaster; and
WHEREAS Alberta Emergency Management Agency has announced $450 million in disaster recovery assistance over the last 10 years; and
WHEREAS disaster recovery funding is intended to return uninsurable property loss to pre-disaster condition; and
WHEREAS disasters, especially flooding, often re-occur in the same location during each event; and
WHEREAS replacing lost assets in a high risk location is not cost effective;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request that the Alberta Government invest in infrastructure projects for flood prevention that will prevent, or reduce the economic impact of disaster events.
Disaster Recovery Programs offered by the Alberta Emergency Management Agency provide much needed relief to both Residents and Municipalities impacted by large scale disasters. The costs of these programs have been significant and continue to increase each year. The Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties is requesting that the Alberta Government develop policies and programs that would mitigate the effects of disaster events caused by re-occurring flooding. Through the disaster recovery program the province currently assists municipalities with the cost of road repairs, culvert replacement, temporary bridge installment and many other disaster related costs. Flood events have the potential to re occur in the same location repeatedly. Many municipalities have experienced significant flood events in the same location multiple times in recent years. 2005, 2007, and 2011 weather related events led to the province announcing disaster relief funding for losses along the same water bodies in each year. Changes in climate have resulted in more severe weather events, creating flood events of more severity and frequency. Hundred year events now occur seemingly on a regular basis. High water levels have the potential to completely change river channels, resulting in severe disruption or complete destruction of established infrastructure, including homes and recreational developments. Supporting the Implementation of flood prevention measures such as diversions, dikes or berms, would reduce the impact of flood events and would complement current disaster programs with the long term goal of reducing the cost of disaster recovery payments. Funding flood prevention projects will be more cost effective in the long term than exclusively offering disaster recovery programs after major flooding events.
The AAMDC has no active resolutions pertaining to this issue.
The province acknowledges the current trend of rising disaster recovery payments and the need to invest in disaster mitigation. Mitigation, specifically for flood events, leads to significant relative savings in future response and recovery costs. Movement towards a robust mitigation component would reduce the reliance on prohibitively expensive response and recovery aspects of disaster events.
Alberta Environment and Water, and Alberta Municipal Affairs through the Alberta Emergency Management Agency, have identified the need to investigate a long-term strategy for flood mitigation based on flood risk, potential impact and long-term maintenance requirements of any flood mitigation initiatives.
The province is working with the federal government, other provinces and territories on a Flood Mitigation Program, as part of a National Disaster Mitigation Strategy. This strategy sets out a comprehensive, multi-dimensional approach that anticipates joint contributions, community-based partnerships, and national-level initiatives. Meaningful input has been provided from a range of interests, including municipalities, on this issue.
In August 2012, the Government of Alberta released a 2006 report on Provincial Flood Mitigation which included recommendations that would support more effective planning prior to further investment in infrastructure. Based on this information, the AAMDC has assigned this resolution a status of Accepted in Principle. The June 2013 floods in Southern Alberta placed flood recovery and prevention into the spotlight. The 2014 provincial budget includes $32 million for local flood mitigation, $36 million for flood mitigation on roads and bridges, $35 million for floodway relocation, $25 million for flood recovery erosion control grants on top of the $3.8 billion that had previously been approved for the flood recovery in 2013. The AAMDC will continue its active participation in those initiatives and represent not only the intent of this resolution but the best interest of member municipalities.