August 27, 2013 1:56 pm

UPDATE: City unveils flood mitigation panel, as flood costs balloon

The City of Calgary is taking more steps to protect residents from another flood like the one that devastated the city in June.

A group of experts were appointed to a new flood mitigation panel on Tuesday, which will deal with things like flood response measures and reducing future flood risks.

“The City is working hard to protect people and property from flooding in the future,” say Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “This process and its task forces will be an important part of that.”

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The panel is chaired by The City’s former Director of Water Resources, Wolf Keller. He says they’ll make recommendations to protect both people and property.

“Do we have to store more water, do we have to divert the water, do we have to raise banks and berms to protect individual houses and districts,” he says, of some of the questions they’ll face. “Those certainly are a big area of focus, but we also have lots of questions about how we get better at predicting how much water there will be.”

The news comes as the province admits the cost of the flood could rise to as much as $5 billion- which would balloon the provincial deficit.

“The deficit this year is going to go from $5.1 billion pre-flood deficit, to $8.1 billion post-flood deficit,” explains Derek Fildebrandt from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “That is the largest deficit in Alberta history, and we would already be on track for one of our largest deficits in our history, but the flood is going to accentuate an already very, very serious fiscal problem for the province.”

The City of Calgary flood panel’s final report could be ready by June 2014. It will then be up to city council to decide which recommendations will be adopted.

For more information on theCity of Calgary flood panel, visit calgary.ca/floodpanel

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