Province's flood zone maps need clarity, Nenshi says

Calgary's mayor says the province needs to provide more clarity about its controversial flood zone maps.

Province using old data and didn't consult city before revealing maps, Calgary mayor says

Calgary's mayor says the province needs to provide more clarity about its controversial flood zone maps.

Naheed Nenshi said provincial officials failed to consult the city about the maps, which have designated numerous Calgary properties as being within either the floodway or flood fringe.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says the province didn't consult the city before releasing its flood zone maps. (CBC)

The mayor also said the province is using out-of-date maps.

"As a matter of fact, the maps that the provincial government has shared with citizens is based on 1983 data," he said.

June’s severe flooding, which saw some rivers carve out new channels, could make those maps even less accurate, he said.

"I understand why the province needed to move forward quickly, and I certainly don’t fault them for that. But we really need to get clarity to people, and I think what we’ve unfortunately done is got more confusion."

Calgary homeowner Dan Gatto, whose house in Discovery Ridge is listed as being on the flood fringe, is also skeptical of the maps.

"The maps need to be adjusted to reflect the current conditions before those qualifiers get attached to our property. If they were to redo those maps we might not be in the pink zone in the flood fringe," he said.

Flood mitigation work was done when Discovery Ridge was built in 2001, he added.

Alberta Environment officials said homeowners who dispute the flood designations must take it up with the local municipality, which can then debate it with the province.

The province is mandating that homeowners who live in the floodway can choose to rebuild and repair, or leave. If they choose to relocate, the province will assist them — in some cases, that means by purchasing land.

But if they stay they will not be eligible for any future Disaster Recovery Fund assistance.

People whose land is designated as flood fringe must flood proof their homes if they want to be covered in the future. They will be eligible for an extra 15 per cent compensation to pay for the proofing.

Nenshi said in theory the approach the province is taking is common sense.

"You ought not to build on a floodway. The question is, what’s a floodway?" he said.