The provincial government has released an intentions paper that explores options to mitigate the effects of flooding. Stakeholders, including local governments, have until January 6, 2023, to provide feedback. Input will help inform the BC Flood Strategy, which the Province of B.C. intends to release later in 2023.
The intentions paper acknowledges that flood risks continue to rise, and comes one year after provincial flooding events that caused highway washouts, landslides and power outages. It includes a proposed strategic framework that focuses on four program areas:
- Understanding Flood Risks;
- Strengthening Flood Risk Governance;
- Enhancing Flood Preparedness, Response, and Recovery; and,
- Investing in Flood Resilience.
While noting that local governments are seeking additional provincial funding and support to address their emergency management responsibilities, the intentions paper does not identify any concrete funding mechanisms or opportunities as part of its proposed ‘reimagined funding model.’ The Province does note that it would like new investments to focus on enhancing flood avoidance, accommodation, and protection, as well as community-led retreat.
The paper also does not contemplate the UBCM membership’s recent request that the Province be re-established as the diking authority in all local governments, although it does propose increased support for dike maintenance. One option under consideration is to establish “new funding programs for more regular, proactive maintenance and inspection of dikes by local authorities and/or regional task forces.”
UBCM continues to call on the Province to provide additional funding and support to local governments to address emergency management responsibilities, including any duties assigned as part of new emergency management legislation. This priority, as well as other local government issues, continues to be raised by the UBCM-EMBC Flood and Wildfire Advisory Committee. New emergency management legislation is expected in spring 2023.