PC flood announcements step in right direction, but questions remain about preparedness

CALGARY – Joe Ceci, the New Democrat candidate for Calgary-Fort, said he was encouraged the PCs were starting to take steps to deal with the province's flood infrastructure deficit but remains concerned about the government's preparedness in the wake of a damning report from the Province's Auditor General. 

"We have received no indication from Mr. Prentice and his government that any of the criticisms in the report have been addressed," said Ceci, referencing a critical report from AG Merwan Saher regarding the government's processes for flooding. 

"Flood infrastructure is so crucial to protecting our homes, businesses and community but these announcements can do more harm than good if they're based on outdated information and little oversight."

In early March, Alberta's Auditor General, Merwan Saher, said the government has weak processes for identifying flood hazard zones in the province and is unable to accurately determine if provincial dams meet safety standards due to a lack of regulatory oversight. The report also recommended that flood hazard areas that don't currently have information be mapped, that mapping guidelines be updated and that a risk assessment to support flood mitigation decisions be conducted.

Ceci noted that while Municipalities have been quick to act the province has been dragging its feet when it comes to flood infrastructure. 

"I wish I had as much confidence in the provincial government as I do in the City of Calgary," said Ceci. "The Conservatives keep making election announcements and playing politics on the public dime. So much more needs to be done but basing decisions on outdated information and poor planning serves nobody."

Ceci added that working closely with municipalities was the key to ensuring that the right priorities for flood protection were being met and that communities should be assured that proactive steps were being taken to address the Auditor General's report.