The Alberta government has announced they will ban future development in floodways after floods damaged thousands of residences across Southern Alberta last month.
The government also announced Sunday it would pay for the rebuilding of damaged homes in floodways but homeowners will required to take on future risk, reports the Calgary Herald.
According to CBC News, new classifications categorize areas in high-risk flood zones as being in the floodway (red zone) or flood fringe (pink zone.) People who live in the floodway will be allowed to rebuild and repair their homes, but if they choose to stay in those areas they will not be eligible for future Disaster Recovery Fund assistance.
However, if they choose to leave, the government announced it will help them financially.
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The CBC also reports homeowners who live in the flood fringe area must flood-proof their homes if they want to be covered in the future and will be eligible for an extra 15 per cent compensation to pay for the proofing.
“This disaster changed the lives of so many of our friends and neighbours,” Premier Alison Redford told Global News Thursday.
“It doesn’t matter where you live in this province, we cannot continue – as a provincial government – to say to people, ‘it’s OK to build in a floodway.’ It’s not the right decision.”
The province says land that's made available by Albertans moving out of flood risk areas would be used for municipal flood mitigation infrastructure or for recreational use such as picnic areas, parks, cycling and hiking paths.
The region that was hit by the recent flooding also suffered serious but less destructive floods in 2005. A government report completed the next year recommended that development on flood plains be restricted. It also suggested that buildings in high-risk flood zones not be eligible for disaster recovery payments.
But the province didn't act on the recommendations.
The government said Sunday the new policies will bring Alberta in line with provinces such as Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec which it said also limit on development in flood hazard areas.
Doug Griffiths, Alberta's municipal affairs minister, told the CBC that new flood mapping will be outlined in many communities and towns over the coming weeks and that the province will work with each municipality on a case-by-case basis.
"We're going to need to work with communities and homeowners to find the best solution for their situation, and we promise to do that," said Griffiths.
"We would prefer that people move out of the floodway," he continued. "If they stay there, that's all they get."
With files from the Canadian Press