Infrastructure minister says cities should make flood maps and data public
A man rows a small boat loaded with belongings down a street in the town of Rigaud, west of Montreal, Saturday, May 6, 2017, following flooding in the region. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, May 10, 2017 12:20PM EDT
OTTAWA - The federal infrastructure minister says cities should release any maps or data about flooding concerns in their cities.
Amarjeet Sohi says residents of municipalities deserve to know whether their home could be at risk of flooding so they can make informed decisions about their properties.
He acknowledges that releasing the information is risky and controversial in some municipalities, but it's the only way homeowners will be able to decide how to protect their properties from potential flooding.
Internal government reports show that some city leaders have been wary about mapping -- and publicizing -- flood risks in their communities, even going so far as to turn down free mapping tools.
The documents show the concerns revolve around whether the information, once public, will reduce property values, increase a municipality's legal liability and lead to a political backlash from voters.
Sohi says the government is funding some projects already designed to help cities mitigate the impacts of natural disasters like flooding and are planning to spend $2 billion over 11 years to help disaster-proof the communities.