20 August 2013

Is flood amnesia setting in?

Immediately after the big water in June, two truisms were out and about in Calgary. One stated the flood had been so catastrophic that finally Albertans would take significant measures to mitigate damage from future floods. The other said that it wouldn't be long before the disaster was put out of mind and things would return to the complacent normal.

Reading recently about the province backing off on one significant measure, I wonder if the second truism won't turn out to be truer than the first.

Call for flood volunteers brought an overwhelming response
The province had stated that all titles for properties in flood-risk zones would henceforth be required to carry warnings. While recognizing this as a very good idea, I must admit that, as owner of a property in a flood-risk zone myself, I selfishly worried about what this would do to my property value. As it turns out, I have no need to worry—the province has dropped the idea.

Rather than put warnings on land titles for properties in flood-risk zones, the government will instead, according to CBC News, "work with the real estate industry to ensure prospective homeowners get the information they need before buying property at risk of flooding." When a government says it will "work with industry" rather than set regulations, scepticism is in order.

Or maybe the warning on the land title is just a bad idea after all. Or so my selfish self might like to believe. It will be interesting to see if that's all there was to this change of mind or if it's a first step to flood amnesia, and nothing much changes.

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