Calgary, AB,
10
February
2014

City flood recovery and mitigation efforts continue

CALGARY - The City established a flood Recovery Operations Centre (ROC) in July 2013 and a task force was convened consisting of business units from across The City. The task force supports the delivery of recovery and mitigation efforts in the community, oversees immediate flood recovery activities for City infrastructure, and works collaboratively with business units to provide recommendations to Council on future resiliency measures.

City business units continue to work with individuals, business owners and organizations impacted by the flood. Approximately 6,000 homes were flooded and approximately 4,000 businesses were impacted.

Community & Neighbourhood Services (CNS) has visited more than 1,300 residents to assess needs and offer support since the flooding. Information has been shared with almost 3,000 residents at open houses and community information sessions. CNS, Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) and other business units are working with social agencies, community groups and non-governmental organizations on emergency response plans for vulnerable citizens, as well as offering support on individual and community preparedness and response plans.

Corporate Properties & Buildings and Calgary Housing Company are working with the small number of families still needing accommodations.

Development & Building Approvals continues to assist property owners with permits and inspections required as part of property repairs and rebuilding efforts. The City is fast-tracking permit applications. City staff are working with Calgarians who have made the decision to demolish damaged properties; more demolitions are anticipated as some owners have not made a decision on how to proceed regarding their property.

ROC and task force members meet regularly with the Government of Alberta and community partners about individual repair and rebuilding work , community recovery measures, and  repairs and mitigation opportunities, and. We also continue to work with the Province and insurance providers to secure funding for City recovery and response efforts.

Following the flood, 185 municipal infrastructure projects were identified as needing repairs, mitigation and resiliency efforts. The list includes such infrastructure as riverbank erosion sites and storm water outfalls, pedestrian bridges, parks, roads and municipal buildings. The list, a map of locations and all progress reports to City Council are at www.calgary.ca/floodrecovery.

“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.”

 

Council has approved total flood recovery capital spending of $316 M in 2013 and 2014. Total long-term capital costs are estimated at $445 as some actions will extend into the next Action Plan (2015-2018) and beyond.

The City’s Expert Management Panel on River Flood Mitigation continues to review flood response and mitigation efforts and to investigate ways of reducing and managing future river flood risks. Six areas are being reviewed: Changing Climate; Watershed Management; Event Forecasting; Storage, Diversion Protection; Infrastructure and Property Resiliency; and Additional Risk Management. The panel is aligning work with the Province’s Flood Mitigation Advisory Panel and City task force. It will provide Council with recommendations in June that will include mitigation and resiliency projects for future consideration.

Some projects include preparation for the upcoming spring river flows. The Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) and City of Calgary business units are in frequent contact with other agencies like Alberta Environment & Sustainable Development and Environment Canada which continually monitor snowpack levels, river and stream flows, and ground saturation levels. The City monitors and reviews this information and increases the intensity of monitoring as high river flow season approaches.

“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.”

We are exploring additional options for Calgarians who have questions or want to provide input on flood recovery and mitigation measures. Citizens can call 311 with questions or suggestions. Information on ongoing recovery and mitigation efforts will be provided as it becomes available.

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Backgrounder: City Flood Recovery and Mitigation Efforts to Date

Information is available at www.calary.ca/floodrecovery. A project list and interactive map are available online

Community Services and Protective Services

  • Staff continue to provide flood-impacted communities with direct support services including face-to-face service delivery to vulnerable residents, identifying resource sources and information to meet needs while fostering community development opportunities for those who continue to be affected by the flood
  • Reopened over 30 parks, including 15 major parks
  • Repaired 57 kms of the 93 kms of pathway that were damaged
  • Resurfaced and cleaned 10 of 11 impacted playgrounds.
  • Work is underway or planned at a number of other parks, pathways, off-leash areas, and park facilities including such things as repairs to causeways, creek crossings and playgrounds and the re-establishment of vegetation.

Corporate Services

  • Since June 2013, the Office of Land Servicing and Housing has worked with the Province on two flood-related initiatives:
    • Displaced Residents Temporary Housing Project: This project helped Calgarians displaced by the flood.
  • Corporate Properties & Buildings conducted repairs and recovery work at damaged City facilities. All employees were back in buildings as of August 27, 2013.

Planning, Development and Assessment

  • Permit Volume Activity: the numbers generally reflect the initial understanding of flood recovery, as owners restored basic operations in flood-damaged buildings. Approvals as of February 7, 2014:
    • Demolition Permits: 24 completed and 35 in progress; additional demolitions are anticipated as some owners have not determined their preferred course of action on their property.
    • Building Permits: 145 completed and 168 in progress; future projected volume is 300+ permits (this class of permit is for reconstruction of flood damaged interior space or fire alarm systems).
    • Trade Permits: 1,820 completed and 1,297 in progress; this class of permit is for replacement of electrical panels, furnaces, hot water tanks through the online ePermit process.
  • Property Assessment Roll: mailed 3,290 information requests, responded to 380 customer inquiries, reviewed 230 building permits.
  • DBA continues to monitor permit activity and volume, and data suggests that a substantial number of permits will be applied for this spring for two reasons:
    • Calgarians have reached conclusions regarding how to approach and fund repairs, either privately or through the Alberta Government’s Disaster Recovery Program.
    • A substantial number of properties impacted by flooding have seen no permitting activity, suggesting permits may not have been applied for yet for existing or future repairs or construction.

Transportation

  • Three pedestrian bridges over the Elbow River have been removed and will be replaced with new structures this year. Transportation Infrastructure will be posting bridge renderings online in early March and Calgarians can vote for their favourite rendering throughout the month. A public information session is being planned for early March.
  • All major roadway and public transit facilities were repaired shortly after the flood.
  • Repaired 250 sinkholes and reopened 150km of flood-impacted roadways

Utilities and Environmental Protection:

  • Bonnybrook Wastewater Treatment plant – while repairs brought plant operations to pre-flood levels, work is ongoing and the full recovery of monitoring controls and flood mitigation measures is expected by the spring is ongoing.
  • Eleven of 12 damaged lift stations have been repaired. The remaining lift station in Elbow Park is operational but requires electrical upgrades to make it more resilient.
  • Of the 14 storm water ponds inundated by flood waters, only one sustained significant damage and will be repaired by spring.
  • More than 40 kms of storm mains and 10 kms of sanitary mains were assessed and cleaned, more than 60 kms of watermains were inspected for leaks and approximately 84 outfalls were inspected and 14 high priority ones have been repaired
  • River cleanup
    • Elbow river - 26 tonnes of debris removed – 100 per cent complete
    • Bow River – 24 tonnes of debris removed – 25 per cent complete

 

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