Buying Out the Floodplain: Recommendations for Strategic Relocation Programs in Canada
With increasingly severe flood events, Canadian communities require a full range of tools to protect people and property. Property buyout programs—which involve the relocation of high-risk neighbourhoods via government acquisition of property—are considered among the most effective forms of risk management since they directly reduce exposure to flooding. However, buyout programs are often resisted by local governments and their citizens. For local governments, buying out property is expensive and takes away a source of tax revenue. For citizens, relocation can be traumatic and might mean abandoning a home or neighbourhood lived in for generations.
In 2020, Partners for Action began a research project funded by the Max Bell Foundation to draw on lessons from current and past property buyout programs and to highlight the trade-offs governments must consider when designing new programs. After two years of research, we are pleased to announce the launch of the final report.
Please join us on Wednesday, April 12th at 1pm ET where Associate Professor Jason Thistlethwaite will be joined by Graham Watt, Manager of Strategic Initiatives/Flood Recovery at the City of Grand Forks, BC, to discuss main findings and recommendations for future relocation programs.
Jason Thistlethwaite is an Associate Professor in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development (SEED) at the University of Waterloo, co-lead of the Climate Risk Research Group and Associate Director for Partners for Action (P4A). His current research involves evaluating the effectiveness of Canadian climate risk management policy, designing risk-transfer and management systems, and mapping and measuring climate change risk.
Graham Watt is a watershed, land use and environmental planner with municipal and non-profit experience in watershed analysis, emergency management, disaster recovery, stakeholder engagement and hazard mitigation plans. He leads non-structural risk reduction in the City’s Flood Mitigation Program, and long-range planning projects including the Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw. Graham was previously the City's Senior Planner, Project Coordinator for the Kettle River Watershed Management Plan, Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, and Basin Planner, North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance in Alberta.