City Council Ducks on Floodplain Study For Now

floodEllenAtkin… and perhaps buys some time and cover … and yes, that is In My Humble Opinion.

What’s the downside of a full public discussion of this now?

The floodplain disasters in Alberta just a number of weeks ago highlighted previous calls for Salmon Arm to have an important updated floodplain study completed.

So about a month ago, there was speculation that council might revisit the timeline for funding a floodplain study that could lead to a sensible river engineering policy. As it currently stands, such a study is slated to occur in 2015 – at the earliest. No funds have been set aside for this. Last year a majority on council voted against allocating funding for it.

From Initial Steps Towards a Sensible River Engineering Policy Still on Hold (Aim High July 19 2013):

It looks and sounds like there won’t be any discussion or motion put forward this Monday at the council meeting on re-considering the funding of an updated floodplain risk study. Perhaps look for this important item in the next August council session.

Well, as far as I can tell, there is now no motion nor specific full public council discussion slated to be held. I imagine that there has been some behind the doors discussion though.

At the council meeting this past Monday (Aug. 12 2013), Councillor Jamieson indicated that he would be asking for funding to be set aside during the upcoming budget process with the intent to fund a study within the next two years. No council discussion, no motion, nada although I applaud Councillor Jamieson for keeping this important issue alive.

Now, the pragmatics of the timing and the funding of this study do indeed need to be broached during the budget process this fall. However, I’d like to see the mayor and council actually take a public position on a motion of intent. The late fall budget process does indeed involve an opportunity for input from the public but it is also involves a lot of last minute decisions (yes they are public and voted on) as to what is in and what is out without any great deal of public discussion.

I’d like to know clearly where our individual city politicos stand on this issue and their preferred timeline.

As an example, last year around this time council voted to reduce the major industry (class 4) multiplier tax rate for the upcoming year (2013) before the official budget process. This served as a instruction for staff to include that direction in their preliminary budget preparations. It was a statement of intent – both an economic and political one.That then became a budgetary line item that was to indeed happen and not simply one further budget consideration amidst the give-and-take decisions on other funding initiatives.

This issue deserves the same process and statement of intent. Build in that budget line item now.

From Controlling? Subsidizing? Let It Be – Let It Be? (Aim High July 14 2013):

The city should be focussed on fully understanding the extent of the flooding risk based on updated standards and data, planning to mitigate those risks, finding the funding and getting going in a expeditious and responsible manner … and yes, deciding on how best to manage further development on the existing Salmon River floodplain. We need to control for flooding of existing development and be brave enough to closely scrutinize further proposals for floodplain development … once the updated data is available.

I intend to ask individual council members where they stand at this time on this. I’ll post the questions (and responses) after I submit them to council.

Author: Tim Lavery

Aim High Salmon Arm It matters

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