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Alberta to restrict building on floodways in new law

There will soon be new legislation in Alberta to restrict building on floodways.

Current rules advise municipalities not to allow building but don't restrict building

There will soon be new legislation to prevent any new building in floodways in Alberta.

The municipal affairs minister made the announcement Tuesday while in Calgary, and says that while current rules suggest municipalities deny development requests, new rules will force them to be more stringent.

"Our legislation, just for the record, used to say that municipalities should not approve development in the floodways," said Doug Griffiths, Alberta's municipal affairs minister. "Now it will say something like they cannot, will not and shall not approve development in the floodways — period."

After extensive consultation with experts, Griffiths says the province is ready to get going on flood mitigation efforts such as detention dams or water diversions.

Calgary will be getting a $63 million advance from the provincial government to begin flood repairs.

It's estimated flood damage in the city sits around $400 million, including $25 million worth of damage to roads and $26 million for repairs to city hall. That number was increased from an initial estimate of $256 million.

A symposium will be held in October to discuss flood mitigation ideas but the minister says he thinks it is time for some action — and if that means restricting future development, so be it.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," says Griffiths.

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