Province Introduces B.C. Flood Strategy

Publishing Date

Last week, the Province introduced From Flood Risk to Resilience: a B.C. Flood Strategy to 2035. The Flood Strategy outlines the Province’s direction for flood management, and includes 25 concepts to improve flood resilience. While the UBCM membership has consistently requested that the Province be established as the diking authority in all local governments, the Flood Strategy confirms that the Province will not assume this role.

The 25 proposed concepts are organized into four pathways:

  • Understanding flood risk;
  • Strengthening flood risk governance;
  • Enhancing flood preparedness, response and recovery; and
  • Investing for flood resilience.

While the Province has already initiated work on concepts under the first pathway (understanding flood risk), funding and resources are still to be confirmed for many other proposed actions.

The Flood Strategy continues to re-enforce the Province’s position that key flood management duties be assigned to local governments, as part of a locally-led approach. This comes as local governments continue to struggle in managing increasing costs and limited capacity associated with emergency management. UBCM’s members, through endorsed resolutions and in response to the Province’s 2022 Intentions Paper, continue to request long-term funding and support for flood protection, prevention and mitigation measures. This includes seeking for the Province to assume certain flood management responsibilities (e.g. diking authority).

As outlined in the Flood Strategy, the Province’s flood management duties will include developing standards and guidelines; facilitating collaboration; coordinating strategic investments; and providing various other supports. Also noted is a desire to work with UBCM, local governments and First Nations on funding and support to address new and ongoing flood management costs. UBCM, through endorsed resolutions, the Local Government Financial Review Working Group, and other forums, has continued to re-iterate the need for a long-term funding and capacity building framework related to local government emergency management responsibilities.

It is understood that implementation of the Province’s priorities and commitments will occur in phases, and be guided by a Flood Resilience Plan, which is still to be completed.

UBCM welcomes feedback from its members regarding the B.C. Flood Strategy, as well as ongoing challenges and concerns related to flood management. Comments may be delivered to Bhar Sihota, UBCM Senior Policy Analyst. The B.C. Flood Strategy will also be discussed as part of an upcoming webinar on April 3rd.