Feds urged to foot flood mitigation
CALGARY—Alberta will ask Ottawa to help pay for flood prevention projects in addition to the costs of the devastation caused by flooding that hit the province in June.
Municipal Affairs minister Doug Griffiths said today the federal government’s share of the bill would be up to $2.5 billion.
“If it’s a fact that Ottawa ends up paying 90 percent of the costs of disaster recovery, it would be very prudent for them to invest in some mitigation,” Griffiths reiterated.
“So we’re going to continue to ask for some resources there as we go forward as we start to establish what the costs are going to be.”
Severe flooding in southern Alberta forced thousands of people from their homes and devastated the Town of High River.
The City of Calgary and some other communities also suffered serious damage.
The province estimates the total cost of disaster recovery will be more than $5 billion.
Griffiths wouldn’t estimate how much the mitigation projects would cost or how much more money the federal government could be on the hook for.
He did repeat his earlier hope that Ottawa would advance Alberta $500 million this year to help defer costs.
Griffiths told the Calgary Chamber of Commerce that governments need to take action now on flood mitigation.
“Albertans don’t want another study indicating what we could do,” he said. “We’ve got tons of studies, tons of information.
“We’ve gathered great information from experts on water movement.
“It’s time to put some of that into action,” Griffiths stressed. “Engineer the results so people can see the detention dams going into place or the diversions—whatever is going to secure their community.”
Griffiths also announced the province will host a flood mitigation forum Oct. 4 in Calgary.
Experts, community reps, and members of the public have been invited to discuss ideas on what to do to help prevent the next major flood.
Premier Alison Redford is to open the symposium.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada said the June floods already rank as the most expensive natural disaster in Canadian history.