Ontario province’s auditor general, Bonnie Lysyk has said that the province is not doing enough to prevent urban flooding, a problem that is expected to worsen in the coming years.
The Findings are part of the 2022 Auditor General’s Report, which points to the province’s failure to clarify its commitments to manage urban flooding and a failure to adequately support municipalities and homeowners to effectively tackle the problem.
Lysyk says it isn’t just a problem for the three per cent of Ontarians who live near rivers.
“All Ontarians who live in cities, towns and smaller communities may be at risk of flooding,” said Lysyk, who added that not addressing the problem will be costly.
Among other things, Lysyk’s report recommends updating the building code, improving urban flood risk mapping and better protecting green and natural spaces such as wetlands.
Speaking on the findings, Lysyk said that there are gaps in provincial flood mapping to identify risk areas and allow communities to prepare.
Cynthia Wilkey, the co-chair of the West Don Lands Committee, said that Understanding floodplains are important in large communities like Toronto and the risks of not doing so would surprise many.
Much of Toronto’s downtown was at risk of flooding from the Don River, until about a decade ago. But groups advocated for the creation of a flood protection landform on the river’s west bank.
“It was a struggle to get that through people’s heads that you have to do this,” Wilkey said. “It costs money to do it, but it has now protected billions of dollars in real estate and not to mention human lives,”.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks said that while a significant share of the responsibility for flood management falls to municipalities, the provincial government is prepared to help.
Story was adapted from CBC.