Most BC Communities Lack Resources to Create, Maintain Floodplain Maps: Report

Nov 24, 2021

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Posted by
April van Ert
Communications Manager

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Vancouver, BC - November 24, 2021. BC's REALTORS® have been mobilizing to help communities hit hardest by the recent flooding and historic rainfalls, from fundraising to support the Red Cross to partnering with helicopter companies to fill more than 16 helicopters with emergency supplies for Abbotsford and Merritt.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) shares Realtors' deep concern for the many communities and families who have lost their homes, loved ones and livelihoods due to recent catastrophic rains. As the voice of BC's 23,000 Realtors, we have been advocating for better floodplain mapping and mitigation since 2015.

In June, we published the 2021 BC Floodplain Maps Inventory Report in collaboration with the University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus (UBCO) and the Real Estate Foundation of BC. Our report found that since 2015 only 38.5% of communities surveyed have created or updated floodplain maps. These communities pointed to a lack of funding and expertise as barriers to creating or updating floodplain maps.

"Recent flooding and this summer's unprecedented wildfires highlight that we can no longer delay in preparing our communities for the impacts of climate change," says BCREA CEO Darlene K. Hyde. "BC Realtors have unique insights into homeowner concerns and the need for climate resilient communities."

"We invite all levels of government to consider the findings of our 2021 BC Floodplain Maps Inventory Report and ensure our communities have the resources they need to create and maintain floodplain maps and take other steps to mitigate flood risks."

About the Report

With financial support from the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia, BCREA and the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO) jointly conducted this study to assess the current level of awareness of flood risks in BC communities. To accomplish this, we conducted a questionnaire survey with local governments and First Nations in which 109 communities participated. The report provides insights into how local governments and First Nations use floodplain maps, whether they are publicly available and the challenges communities experience with floodplain mapping projects.

A key finding of this research is the importance of federal and provincial funding programs.

Summary of findings:

  • Since 2015, 38.5% of communities surveyed created or updated floodplain maps; the remaining 61.5% of communities reported that they have not created or updated a floodplain map.
  • Land use plays a vital role in flooding, though only 62% of the maps created since 2015 meet the British Columbia Flood Hazard Area Land Use Management Guidelines.
  • Of the 42 communities that have created or updated floodplain maps since 2015, 24 make those maps publicly available.
  • More than half of the 109 communities that participated in the survey have no or little in-house flood management expertise.
  • The most common reasons for not creating or updating floodplain maps were a lack of funding, expertise, and time.

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For more information:
Shaheed Devji
Senior Communications Specialist
[email protected]
604.742.2790

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