Old Floodplain Maps Put British Columbians at Risk

Friday, October 30th, 2015


Only 21% of BC communities and First Nations have access to a floodplain map that is ten years old or less, according to the BC Floodplain Map Inventory Report, published by the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA). Nearly 31% reported they no access to floodplain maps at all.

“Floodplain maps support decision making by showing risks to existing and proposed developments and infrastructure, and help support resilient growth and emergency planning,” says researcher and community planner Catherine Parsons. “But, to be effective, floodplain maps must be updated regularly to reflect changes in land development, the environment and climate.”

The BC Floodplain Map Inventory Report identifies the BC floodplain maps created or updated in the last ten years. It also describes how floodplain maps are used, the public availability of maps, availability of supporting data, and challenges and opportunities communities have experienced with floodplain mapping projects. This report helps to identify gaps in floodplain mapping and highlights the need for upto- date floodplain information in BC.

Seventy two BC local governments and First Nations participated in the research, which consisted of a survey and follow-up interviews.

“Communities around the province are grappling with many challenges, and floodplain mapping is just one example,” notes Dr. Nathan Vadeboncoeur, President of the not-for-profit Community Risk Network and a contributor to the research. “Many communities, in particular small and rural municipalities, lack the time and resources required to update their floodplain maps. Developing a clearer picture of what needs to be done around British Columbia to build flood resilience is an important step toward helping communities manage flooding.”

The report results suggest that better information about floodplain maps, guidelines for their development, data standardization, and stronger funding mechanisms will all improve the state of floodplain mapping in BC. Better floodplain maps will make communities, First Nations and the entire province more resilient.

Visit www.bcrea.bc.ca/docs/government-relations/2015floodplainmapinventory.pdf to read the full report.

Copyright ©2015 BCREA

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