Strategy Outlines Next Steps to Reduce Flooding Risk and Increase Preparedness
News from Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Posted March 9, 2020 on Niagara At Large
The Ontario government is taking action to protect people and communities from the effects of flooding by reducing flood risk and helping Ontarians to be better prepared for flooding events.
“We know that we can’t prevent flooding in Ontario – we can only become more resilient to it,” said John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “Our strategy is designed to increase public awareness and help us to be better prepared and equipped to respond to the devasting effects of flooding.”
“We’re listening to people from across the province who have been affected by flooding, and that is why we’re taking a whole-of-government approach and calling on the federal government, our municipal partners, conservation authorities, industry and Indigenous communities to work with us to implement the actions contained in this strategy.”
Ontario’s Flooding Strategy focuses on five priority areas:
- Understanding Flood Risk through updated floodplain mapping and increasing access to flood-related information.
- Strengthening Governance through provincial policy to ensure local development is directed away from areas where flooding and erosion present unacceptable risks.
- Enhancing Flood Preparedness through the use of state-of-the art science and technology.
- Enhancing Response and Recovery by improving how we receive and respond to municipal requests for assistance.
- Investing in Flood Risk Reduction by working with the federal government to increase investment in critical areas like mapping and infrastructure.
“Building healthier and safer communities is our top priority and that’s why we’re taking action to strengthen the province’s preparedness for flooding,” said Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure and MPP for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock. “We’ll continue to speak with Ontarians and we’ll keep learning more as the strategy is implemented.”
The government’s flood strategy was informed by public consultations and the expert advice of Doug McNeil, Ontario’s Special Advisor on Flooding.
The government has provided disaster recovery funding assistance of over $7 million to affected individuals, small businesses and not-for-profit organizations as a result of spring 2019 flooding.
In spring 2019, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry provided approximately 890,000 sandbags to municipalities throughout southern and eastern Ontario and deployed over 60 Fire Ranger crews and additional support staff to many impacted municipalities.
A Note from Niagara At Large – NAL is also including this response to the above news release, issued this March 9th, 2020, from Ontario’s Official Opposition New Democratic Party –
NDP Environment critic Ian Arthur made this statement in response to the Ford government’s announcement on flood preparedness:
QUEEN’S PARK — “Ontarians are rightfully concerned about increased flooding events, which experts confirm is a consequence of climate change.
Today’s announcement by Ford’s Minister of Natural Resources makes clear that this government will not reverse its cuts to much-needed flooding prevention programs. In fact, today’s announcement did not include one thin dime.
Ford’s last budget slashed the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks’ annual budget by nearly half. Soon after, the government ordered conservation authorities and municipalities to cut key programs like those that prevent and mitigate flooding by monitoring and supporting watersheds.
This morning, the Minister of Natural Resources, John Yakabuski, told journalists that today’s announcement was ‘not about funding.’ How does the minister expect flood prevention to happen if his government has taken the very resources needed to ensure communities and property are kept safe?
The minister has not only ignored flooding experts’ pleas for government funding, he has ignored the advice of his own special advisor on flooding, whose independent review stressed that Ontario has seen increased flooding due to climate change, and that fresh funding is needed to combat further risks.”
NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.
A Reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.
For More News And Commentary From Niagara At Large – An independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara Region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .