The identity of the Columbia Basin (CB) is intertwined with its position in the mountains. Its floodplains and other hazard areas are centres of commercial, social, economic and ecologic activity, and as such they are home to community assets. These assets are subject to damage when natural hazard events occur.
Local governments can and should play a role in risk reduction from natural hazards. In BC, since the 2003-2004 downloading of responsibility to local governments with the promulgation of the Local Government Act it has become imperative. Unfortunately, local governments have not been afforded many resources to develop appropriate, community-specific regulations for the management of natural hazards.
The Columbia Basin Trust recognised this gap through their Community Adapting to Climate Change Initiative and in the spring of 2014 they retained Ebbwater Consulting, amongst a larger team, to prepare model policies for hazard management and associated background materials for their member communities. As a component of this work Ebbwater researched and reported on best management practices for local governments given the regulatory environment in BC. A survey of BC municipalities’ modes of regulating hazard areas was conducted, and interviews with several municipalities were completed. The research was compiled into a background report and model policies, using a Development Permit Areas approach, were developed. It is hoped that CB municipalities will use this information to mitigate their community risk and increase resiliency to natural hazards, especially in the light of climate change.
The policy document is available online here.
March 2014 – July 2014