City suggests house calls to help shield high-risk homes against flood damage
600 homes could get a customized visit as soon as early 2018
The City of Saskatoon wants to send assessors to 600 homes in flood-prone areas of the city as soon as early 2018.
Their mission: to provide homeowners advice on how they can protect their houses against the kind of damage reported during this past summer's floods.
"What might be a solution for one property may not be a solution to another property. That's the real intent of having a customized assessment," said Angela Gardiner, the acting general manager of transportation and utilities.
The assessment program, tried out earlier this year by the City of Burlington, was created by the University of Waterloo's Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation.
Assessors in Burlington have made suggestions such as sealing cracks and gaps in walls and installing water-resisting external doors or weeping tiles.
Gardiner says the city began considering the program around the same time desperate Saskatoon residents asked the city to purchase their flood-damaged homes.
The cost to launch and run the program would be $200,000, with inspections intended to occur well before next summer.
The inspections would take place in homes in the city's 30 high-risk flood areas, including the Adelaide and Avalon areas.
The city is asking city councillors sitting on the Standing Committee on Environment, Utilities and Corporate Services, which meets Monday morning, to endorse the plan.
"Any kind of solution here is going to be very complex," said Gardiner of the larger fixes needed to prevent or mitigate flooding in vulnerable, low-lying neighbourhoods.
"It's going to require modifications to the individual properties in addition to infrastructure options."
Home purchases not recommended
Among those infrastructure options, and the one deemed most "effective" by the city, are dry retention ponds in city parks.
"[They're] intended to act as a catchment for storm water and then it slowly dissipates into the pipes," said Gardiner.
That option would restrict people's use of parks for a period after a rainfall, however.
One option the city is not recommending is buying people's homes in the most high-risk flood areas.
"This option is generally more expensive than the infrastructure options in more intensive rainfall scenarios," according to a city report.