Calgary Still Rebuilding From Flood

While sub-zero temperatures may be on the minds of most Calgarians, an update from the city shows efforts to rebuild from the June floods are still ongoing.

About 6,000 homes and about 4,000 businesses suffered damage due to flooding, as a result the city created a flood recovery operations centre (ROC) and a task force of various business units.

The government of Alberta, community partners, ROC and the task force have been meeting to discuss individual repair and rebuilding work, community recovery measures and mitigation opportunities.

“Over the past seven months, about half of the projects have been repaired or rebuilt,” said Gord Stewart, director of recovery. “In some instances, the end product has added mitigation and resiliency components so the infrastructure is better able in the future to address and recover from incidents like flooding.”

Looking towards the near future is already under way, as agencies like Alberta Environment & Sustainable Development and Environment Canada watch the snowpack levels, river and stream flows and ground saturation levels.

While these agencies may not be monitoring water levels with a supercomputer, others are, and saw Calgary and parts of Southern Alberta would flood 10 days before it happened. Using supercomputers that can see when rain is expected weeks in advance, and using a mathematical model to calculate how precipitation runs off in places all around the world, a team of researchers in England could see the impending surge in water levels. However, due to the system being in its infancy, no one was alerted to the danger.

While such predictions may have failed to alert Calgarians, there are still many organizations that continue to assist those Calgarians and Albertans whose homes were destroyed by flood waters and debris.

Community & Neighbourhood Services (CNS) has provided information for almost 3,000 residents at open houses and information sessions, and has visited over 1,300 residents to offer support.

Helping the few families who still do not have proper accommodations is the Corporate Properties & Buildings and Calgary Housing Company.

The City of Calgary is fast-tracking permit applications and assisting anyone who has decided to demolish damaged properties. As well Development & Building Approvals are still helping property owners with their permits and inspections for those that are doing property repairs and rebuilding efforts.

City Council has approved flood recovery capital spending of $316 million in 2013 and 2014. The total long-term capital costs are estimated at $445 million as some actions will extend into the next Action Plan.

On top of repairing the damages brought to the city from the June 2013 floods, there is a constant need to explore flood mitigation options.

Six areas are currently being reviewed by the city’s Expert Management Panel on River Flood Mitigation they include: changing climate, watershed management, event forecasting, storage, diversion protection, infrastructure and property resiliency and additional risk management.

“Everyone has a role to play in preparing for emergencies,” said Calgary Fire Department Chief Bruce Burrell who is also director of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency. “Preparedness starts with individuals. Every member of the public, from individuals to communities to the city and our partners, has a role to play in preparedness.”

To view a project list and an interactive map to see the flood recovery and mitigation efforts visit www.calgary.ca/floodrecovery.

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