Did you know that 61 areas in our city are labelled as high risk for flooding? Another 244 are labelled as a medium-high risk. We are in this position because our climate is changing and what used to be considered a 1 in 100 year flood many years ago is now happening more frequently.
This new reality requires that we spend $1.6 billion over the next 10-20 years to improve drainage infrastructure so that high and medium-high risk areas can become more flood resilient. Read more about the Stormwater Integrated Resource Plan here
This money being invested is necessary in order for people to know that their home, likely the biggest investment in their life, will have greater security. What’s frustrating is these costs could have been avoided if climate change had been taken more seriously many years ago.
While we can’t change the past we don’t have to repeat it.
That’s why I voted in favour of updating our energy transition strategy and declaring a climate emergency. The declaration is fairly symbolic but the updated plan is what will have a major impact.
I’m not sure how many people know about the number of Edmonton communities that are at risk of flooding and the cost we all have to incur to address that. While there is obviously a major environmental impact on climate change, I think it’s important to focus on the financial cost that all cities, provinces/territories, and countries will be dealing with if climate change is not taken more seriously.
We are just one of many cities across the world that have to now spend billions of dollars to ensure we are more resilient to our changing climate. So even if for some reason you doubt the global impact of climate change, I want to provide a real example happening in our own city that will cost us $1.6 billion. This is real money that could have gone to other civic priorities or have simply stayed in your wallet.
I’ve said it before, no elected representative ever wants to increase taxes. The fact that I have to support a $1.6 billion flood mitigation program does not bring me any joy. This will have a direct impact on our utility costs. But the level of risk across the city means we have no choice as the financial cost of responding to a flood after the fact is far more. What would have cost even less would have been a coordinated global effort to tackle an issue that is creating major financial costs for people across the world.
I don’t want future generations to be in the same situation we are in now – spending billions of tax dollars to address something that could have been avoided. As someone who has regularly spoken about fiscal responsibility, taking more focused action on climate change now will allow us to save far more money in the future.