New details released by province on flood assistance

The province released new details Sunday on flood assistance and mitigation measures it says will help Albertans get their lives back on track.

Three-part announcement focused on rebuilding, flood mitigation and protecting future homeowners

The province released new details Sunday on flood assistance and mitigation measures it says will help Albertans get their lives back on track.

The three-part announcement focused on providing assistance for rebuilding, meeting flood mitigation standards and protecting future homeowners.

"Our government wants to help rebuild safer homes and stronger communities," said Doug Griffiths, minister of municipal affairs. "We want to ensure Albertans can make informed choices based on their personal situations."

Under the disaster recovery program (DRP), homeowners will get support for a complete rebuild if the cost of repairs is greater than the cost of rebuilding the damaged home. The level of funding will be based on construction per square foot and basic level of finish, based on the existing developed space of the home.

While this will vary for every situation, the province says homeowners should work within the DRP process to establish the level of flood assistance they can receive.

Examples of basic levels of finish include:

  • Vinyl siding
  • Asphalt shingles
  • Standard efficiency furnace
  • Vinyl flooring
  • Basic quality carpet
  • Basic quality cabinets and laminate countertops
  • Standard finishing throughout including baseboards, closet doors, doors and towel racks, etc.

"The disaster recovery program works with your insurance coverage but does not replace insurance," said Griffiths. "It will cover restoration of your home to a functional standard but not cover premium upgrades."

Mitigation flood damage

As well, the new minimum individual flood mitigation measures will be aimed at helping small businesses and Albertans who own property in flood fringe areas that was damaged in last month's flood.

The new measures relate to finished and partially-finished basements and include:

  • Refinish with materials and finishes that resist water damage and are cleanable.
  • Seal all the openings in the basement wall where piping, wiring and conduits come through, to prevent seepage.
  • Protect electrical services in the basement to quickly restore electrical functioning by raising wiring and outlets and by moving and modifying the main electrical panel so that basement circuits that may be affected by floodwater are isolated from the remainder of the home or business.
  • Protect plumbing fixtures or equipment from backflow from public sewers.

The DRP will fund flood mitigation by adding up to 15 per cent of calculated repairs per home.

If mitigation costs are higher, the province will fund additional money to meet the standard.

It could cost up to $10,000 to repair or rebuild a basement with these measures instead of traditional materials and methods.

Protecting future homeowners

A notice will also be placed on land titles stating whether the property is on a floodway or a flood fringe.

That notice will also say whether the property used DRP funding — for example, to rebuild or upgrade.

Only properties in floodways and flood fringes that accessed assistance will have this notice placed on their title.

"We have a responsibility to put protective measures in place for future buys, realtors, lenders and insurers," Griffiths said. "This is another step toward rebuilding safer communities."

Once property owners in the flood fringe submit proof of mitigation efforts to the land titles office, the DRP notice on their land title will be removed.

Homeowners making repairs are reminded to get work permits from their municipality before beginning repairs.

The permits will ensure the flood mitigation measures are included in a combination permit and will involve the necessary inspections by safety codes officers.

This will allow for a final inspection report to make note of mitigation compliance, which will be needed to prove mitigation standards have been met.