City responds to public feedback on flood challenges

Further to two community conversations held in late summer related to flood mitigation and resiliency, the City of Fredericton has released an engagement report to share and respond to the concerns and ideas expressed by residents.

The City had invited people to talk about how the floods of 2018 and 2019 had affected them and to make suggestions to mitigate the effects of future floods. Many answered the call, by sharing their concerns and ideas with the heads of the City’s Engineering & Operations and Planning & Development departments, as well as representatives from Fredericton’s Municipal Emergency Measures Organization.

Presenters at the July 30 and August 15 public sessions included residents whose homes had been flooded, business owners, environmental advocates, insurance industry representatives, and academics.

“These sessions were a new way for us to really engage with people on a matter of great importance to so many. We were so pleased that more than 120 people attended the sessions to talk about their experiences and contribute to making Fredericton even more resilient to future floods,” said Fredericton Mayor Mike O’Brien. “Staff shared all the feedback with relevant departments within the City of Fredericton and asked them to respond.”

Dylan Gamble, the City’s Director of Engineering & Operations, attended both sessions and said hearing directly from people about their lived experience with flooding was valuable. He noted that much of what he and the other panelists heard will be incorporated into the City’s flood planning.

“While some of the feedback we received reflected things we already do or were planning to do, other things we heard put a spotlight on what we needed to do better. Those comments will result in concrete actions the City will be taking in anticipation of the next flood,” he said.

The City is embarking on an eight-year program to bolster its resiliency efforts and protect Fredericton’s key transportation systems and municipal infrastructure in order to ensure essential services can continue during floods. The program is made possible by $11.4M in new funding from the federal government Disaster Mitigation Adaptation Fund and an investment of a further $17M by the City, bringing the combined investment to more than $28M over the next eight years.

Among the actions the City will be undertaking as a result of the community conversations:

  • Installing valves in select locations where the back-up of flood water through municipal infrastructure can be reduced.
  • Coordinating changes to road elevations and valving of storm sewers with planned infrastructure renewal work around the City and in the downtown.
  • Creating a guide for homeowners with practical information on maintaining their property and completing simple or more complex upgrades that can help build their homes’ flood resilience.
  • Providing residents affected by flooding and its aftermath with more information on where to access free mental health services quickly and easily.
  • Promoting City Transit and park-and-ride solutions more aggressively to downtown employees during flood events.

Interested residents can read the Engagement Report on the City of Fredericton’s website at www.fredericton.ca/FloodResiliency or contact the Office of the City Clerk at 506-460-2020 or cityclerk@fredericton.ca to obtain a copy.

The community conversations on flood mitigation and resiliency, and the resulting engagement report, are the latest in a series of climate-related actions the City is undertaking:

  • Winter 2019: Creation of the City’s Environmental Leadership section within the Engineering & Operations Dept.
  • Fall 2019: The City of Fredericton was selected to join the first Showcase Cities cohort led by the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM) Canada.
  • Fall 2019: New funding from the Federation of Canadian Municipality’s (FCM) Green Municipal Fund will help City Hall become carbon neutral

Further, the City will soon be engaging with citizens on its upcoming Climate Change Adaptation Plan in addition to the 8-year flood mitigation and resiliency plan.