Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Six-Year-Old Alberta Report Recommends More Than $300M in Flood Protection

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Six-Year-Old Alberta Report Recommends More Than $300M in Flood Protection

Article excerpt

Report calls for $300M flood protection


EDMONTON - Alberta has finally released a report completed six years ago that recommends that at least $300 million should be spent to protect 54 communities from flood damage.

The government commissioned the report following floods in southern Alberta in 2005 that killed three people and caused more than $400 million in damages.

Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths said he isn't sure why the report was not released earlier and said the government is now sorting out how many of its 18 recommendations have been acted on.

"I wish I knew. I don't know why the report wasn't released," Griffiths said Friday. He was appointed minister eight months ago.

"We have to compile a list to see how far we have come along. I am not even sure if $300 million is an accurate figure anymore."

Griffiths said the figure could even be higher now, especially after the heavy rains that have soaked the province this year and last year.

The report was submitted to the government in November 2006, just weeks after former premier Ralph Klein announced his plan to resign after 14 years in office.

Klein's resignation sparked a hard-fought leadership campaign to succeed him that saw Ed Stelmach become premier in December following a run-off vote.

Other controversial recommendations in the report call on the government to stop selling Crown land in flood zones and to stop making disaster relief payments for new developments built in high-risk areas.

The report points out that 36 communities in Alberta require flood-risk assessments.

Other recommendations include having Alberta Environment designate flood risk areas and requiring people selling property in flood-prone zones to disclose the information to buyers.

Griffiths said some of the recommendations aren't workable and others would involve complex funding arrangements with the federal government and municipalities. …

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