British Columbia Association Of Emergency Managers › Forums › HOTWASH Moderated Emergency Management Discussions › UR+ BC 2018- Reducing Risk and Building Resilience in BCs Built Environment
Hello, my name is Jessica and I am a Planner (think more urban planner, less event planner- but I sometimes find myself doing a bit of that too!). I have been working on projects for almost a decade now in southwest BC, that aim to better assess, analyze and reduce risk from natural hazards. In recent years, this has turned into a lot of climate adaptation work, as we see the incidence of hazard events increase in frequency and intensity in a climate changed world. There has been a recent shift in BC EM – to try and emphasize the mitigation component of the EM cycle- and I am keen to hear from this group what that looks like on the ground and what this community of EMs needs to better understand natural hazard risk, reduce associated risk and build community and regional resilience in the areas where they live and work. We are working to build on the UR+ Vancouver outcomes (http://www.bccassn.com/media/UR+%20Vancouver-Outcomes.pdf) at the UR+ Victoria (https://www.bccassn.com/meetings-and-events/understanding-risk-bc/default) event in April. This time there is emphasis on the outcomes related to the built environment. We would very much appreciate feedback from this group on how to continue to forward the outcomes from Vancouver and any input they might have on the Victoria themes and content.
I will guide this discussion from March 31st to April 4th.
2 specific questions for you to consider are as follows:
1. Considering the hazards and risks in your community or area of work, what has been the most successful initiative taken in the past 10 years to reduce risk in the built environment? What were they key ingredients that made it successful (funding? motivation and buy-in? partnerships? supporting data, information, or plans?)?
2. Looking ahead to the next 10 years, considering how floods, fires, earthquakes and other hazards impact communities and the built environment, what information, tools, or resources do you need to understand and reduce risk in your community or work and what are the opportunities or barriers to obtaining them?
We would very much appreciate feedback from this group on how to continue to forward the outcomes from Vancouver and are seeking your input as emergency management professionals from across BC to help refine and finalize the UR BC 2018 themes and content.
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Hi Jessica, I’m responding to your second question, as I have more experience with hazards and preventative measures within the natural environment (such as shoring up streams, cleaning out creeks of debris prior to freshet, etc).
One resource that would be useful to have more of where I live (in the SE of BC) would be drones to assess creeks and streams that are far from communities, but which could very much affect/damage those communities if there is build up of debris blocking the flow of water. Not sure how much, or if this is being used provincially, but think it could be helpful in reducing hazards that many dont even see due to the geographic vastness and difficulty in accessing parts of our region. Also I understand there may not be the regulations in place (yet?) for this type of technology to be used for purposes such as this, or perhaps thats changed recently. thoughts?
1. The most successful mitigation works so far has been stream rehabilitation repairing damage from previous flooding. The key ingredient to this project and any future mitigation works is funding. Without funding support small local governments are unable to embark of expensive mitigation projects.
2. There needs to be collaborative approaches taken in the communities to educate and help everyone assess the risks in their area or to their property and funding to support the process and mitigation efforts. The general public and local governments only engage in identifying and mitigating risks for a short time after a significant event, there needs to be better educational tools and funding to support a more significant effort on everyone’s part.
Thanks Deb- this is interesting – the use of UAVs has come up before for me, but more in terms of response- so its interesting to hear how this tool can be used for more preventative purposes as well! I do not know if the province is using UAVs in this way, or what the current status is on regulations- but can try and find out!
Thanks Deborah- I agree- some sort of sustained funding for mitigation efforts is necessary. This is something we are currently exploring via the Lower Mainland Flood Strategy at the moment. It will be interesting to see what happens with the NDMP program expiring and how it may be renewed and changed. What source of funding was used for the stream rehabilitation you mention? And for the second part- do you imagine some type of community-based risk mapping effort?
Hi Jessica and others,
I believe the province has been using UAVs for both wildfire suppression and search and rescue, so there is some precedent in emergency management contexts. I wonder if there have industrial uses such as surveying of remote infrastructure that model a similar application, or if any other provincial agencies have access to these tools or other remote sensing methods that would help?
I thought the UR Vancouver was great, it was really informative to have the much of the spectrum of EM professionals together collaborating on actionable strategies including land use planners, engineers, and so on, some groups that I don’t have regular interaction with . I found that the representative from one of the banking institutions gave some great info about the financial interests of the banks in reducing risk, for example as it relates to protecting properties that they hold mortgages on. It seems like these major financial interests are becoming more involved across EM and taking on a more conspicuous role in policy development. I see that most of the themes raised here have also been captured in the UR Vancouver recommendations; public education, mapping and modelling risk, funding and capacity for local governments, etc.
It will be interesting to see the perspectives and what comes from the involvement of the BC Construction Assoc. at the upcoming symposium. With the recent and ongoing experience of last years floods and fires, it is really thought provoking at what sorts of building and construction improvements will be attainable or desirable (ex. building code for wildfire resistance of fire smart programming). Also I am wondering what sorts of lessons can be taken from other regions with other hazards for example hurricane impacts on built environments. Thanks!
Funding seems to be a common thread as most governments find themselves in a tight squeeze with competing demands. Mitigation is definitely an area that we need to see more focus and funding for, preferably before the major emergency or disaster occurs.
When I was completing my JIBC Bachelors in Emergency and Security Management Studies, we had an interesting course on Root Causes and our team focussed on the Cowichan River which has created various flooding impacts over the years. I would like to see these kinds of studies funded so that provincial and local governments get a better understanding of all the factors combining to cause river flooding so that ideally a flood mitigation strategy can be developed with annually funded projects to prevent the major impacts of flooding long-term.
Thanks for moderating this first discussion!
Thanks Sybille- I agree on the root causes piece- hence my work on these Understanding Risk events- which are intended to raise the baseline awareness of natural hazard risk across the province as well as the measures that can be taken to reduce those risks and build resilience. As the costs of responding to and recovering from hazard events continues to increase, our financial approaches have to change as well. The NDMP has been a great start on this- but the scale is not appropriate to the risks. The private sector will have to play a role as well. It is well recognized that the govts alone will not be able to manage all this.
There are lots of efforts underway to better understand floods across the province- but not yet a central way of managing and maintaining that information in an ongoing way- and still a lot of emphasis on hazard, less so risk (incorporating vulnerability/exposure).
And I agree- we need multi-year programs that have a pipeline of projects to reduce flood (and other) risk and build resilience through restoration based projects that also help tackle the mitigation side of climate change (using blue green infrastructure for ex.)
Thanks Pete- I certainly think our use of remote sensing is going to increase. We see this in in the need to map and model sea level rise and subsidence in an ongoing way for example.
Thank you for the kind words on UR Vancouver- the aim of these events is to do just that- gather ppl from across the science-policy-action spectrum to help develop that shared operating picture of natural hazard risk in the province and advance actionable strategies to reduce it and build resilience. And yes, there is still more work to do to engage with the financial sector- they are becoming alive to these issues more and more as you are observing. There is a great report on investing in resilience: https://www.cisl.cam.ac.uk/publications/publication-pdfs/Investing-for-resilience.pdf
Look forward to seeing you at the upcoming UR+ event in Victoria- where we will focus on the built environment pieces! Should be another exciting and engaging symposium.
Thanks to all for having me on here to kickoff these forums! I look forward to seeing many of you at UR+ BC and hope to stay in touch as we all work to plan and build a more resilient BC!
Also- I will take these comments, questions to the UR+ closing plenary:
A Regional Resilience Hub? Using Climate Projections, Big Data and Dynamic Risk Models to Inform and Enhance our Risk Reduction Planning, Early Warning Systems and Response and Recovery Efforts
Having a comprehensive resilience strategy for the province presents business opportunities that integrate energy retrofits, climate adaptation (including adapting to sea level rise, flooding and fire hazards), and seismic mitigation policy. What are the steps needed to put such a strategy for our built environment in motion? And, what kinds of collaborations or non-traditional partnerships are needed from the four orders of government, academia and the private sector?
Kate Moran (Ocean Networks Canada)
Murray Journeay (Geological Survey of Canada, Global Earthquake Model)
Becky Denlinger (Emergency Management BC)
Chris Atchison (BC Construction Association)
Andrew Pape-Salmon (Building Safety Standards Branch)
Trevor Murdock (Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium)
UR+ Vancouver Outcomes:
Organize another UR+ event, set up regional/provincial resilience roundtables, and develop a provincial resilience strategy that addresses multiple hazards from a multi-disciplinary perspective.
Create a central and freely accessible information clearing house to share information.
Establish a single authority within government to deal with natural hazards in the built environment, which will enable a risk-based approach and the use of performance-based designs.
Define the roles and responsibilities of different sectors to increase transparency and reduce gaps between research, legislation, and practice.
1. Understanding disaster risk
2. Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk
3. Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience
4. Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction
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