CALGARY- City council spent much of Monday debating a bylaw change that would have required some homeowners to move electrical panels, furnaces and hot water tanks out of their basements.
In the end, councillors approved a watered-down version of the bylaw.
The rule change will apply to homes in the city’s floodway and flood fringe.
Scott Laird and his family are waiting for the end of this year’s flood season before rebuilding the basement of their Rideau Park home. Laird says it would cost $11,000 to move the electrical panel to the main floor.
He adds the home’s two furnaces have already been replaced and says moving them would be extremely expensive.
“I can’t even visualize a way that this can be done.”
Many councillors agree – they decided moving the furnace will only be necessary if a renovation or addition accounts for more than 75 per cent of the size of a home.
The majority of councillors support moving the electrical panels.
However, that wouldn’t be required if basements are being repaired to their pre-flood condition.
“How do we make our city more resilient? How do we make communities more resilient in the future and not destroy people’s property values?” asks Councillor Druh Farrell. “So it’s a matter of the timing of the measures and how aggressive we want to be.”
As Laird keeps a close eye on the rivers, he’s confident he won’t need to make any changes since he’s not enlarging his basement.
“I think the timing is bad. We’re still recovering, everyone that was affected, and you don’t need another issue thrown at you at this point.”