Flood hazards at the forefront

No doubt many communities in Canada will take a more critical look at building in flood zones.

Given the situation of many of our southern Alberta neighbours, it is not surprising Salmon Arm city council will be taking another look at whether to push forward plans for flood hazard assessments of the Salmon River floodplain.

No doubt many communities in Canada will take a more critical look at building in flood zones. Already, criticism is being voiced that not enough attention was paid to the recommendations in a report following Alberta’s 2005 flood.

One key recommendation was keeping up-to-date information on flood zones, as well as a restricting building development on flood-risk areas. The report stated that undeveloped flood plains are the natural and most effective form of flood mitigation possible.

The city previously designated a flood hazard assessment plan as a medium-range priority, which means a five-to-six-year wait before it would be scheduled. A suggestion this be moved  forward into the short-term priorities was defeated at budget time, but it may be returning to the table.

Clearly, the sight of thousands of Albertan homes filled with water and debris, not to mention the huge cost involved with disaster relief for the thousands of displaced, is sparking a renewed interest in flood mitigation measures.

Prevention is clearly a less-expensive option that disaster relief or restoration, should a severe flooding event take place. It seems wise for local politicians to take a good, hard look at these priorities. Just ask an Albertan.

-Salmon Arm Observer