Flooding poses catastrophic risks to BC’s economic vitality, safety, environment, property owners and communities, and therefore flood protection is an important issue for the BC Real Estate Association and its members. Responding to this concern, BCREA published a Floodplain Maps Action Plan on April 18.
What is a floodplain map?
A floodplain map is a tool that shows areas that are subject to high flood hazard, and they help form the foundation on which many decisions are made about how and where communities grow. There are currently 87 existing floodplain maps available online from the provincial government, and 69 per cent of them are at least 20 years old. Experts recommend that floodplain maps should be updated every ten years.
Why are updated floodplain maps important to REALTORS®?
Outdated floodplain maps compromise the ability of decision makers to effectively assess and manage flood risks, putting BC communities and homeowners in jeopardy. By being proactive now, organized real estate and other stakeholders around the province can assist in protecting homes, businesses and communities, and help prevent potential distress and expense in the future.
What steps have been taken?
On March 8, BCREA hosted a floodplain maps workshop in Vancouver, which was attended by nearly 70 stakeholders and practitioners involved with flood management, land use and emergency management. Participants expressed their shared concerns for BC communities and discussed technical, financial and political perspectives in terms of challenges and opportunities. Attendees generated consensus around key actions to update existing floodplain maps and keep them current.
Financial support for the event was provided, in part, by the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia, because the workshop reflected the Foundation’s fresh water sustainability focus. The event was also supported by Simon Fraser University's Adaptation to Climate Change Team, and was facilitated by David Marshall of the Fraser Basin Council.
On April 18, BCREA published the Floodplain Maps Action Plan, a summary of 21 actions to update floodplain maps and keep them current. Key points of the plan include:
- creating a Working Group to move the actions in the plan forward,
- assessing the capacity of local governments to update floodplain maps, and
- recommending that the provincial government take back responsibility for floodplain mapping, with maps being updated every ten years, and expand the scope of the Flood Protection Program to include technical studies.
BCREA looks forward to its continued work with stakeholders and the provincial government to help ensure that floodplain maps incorporate climate change projections, consider changes in land and population growth for the well-being and quality of life of BC’s economy, communities and property owners.
To view the Floodplain Maps Action Plan, visit www.bcrea.bc.ca/docs/floodplainmaps_action_plan