Flood hazard identification, mapping project gains support from North Perth council

·3 min read

NORTH PERTH – At its Sept. 12 meeting, the North Perth Mapping Project was endorsed by municipal council. There was the recommendation that council approve the application planned by Maitland Conservation (MC) to secure the grant funding that would be used to update data mapping related to flood hazards within the municipality of North Perth.

In January 2022, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry launched the Flood Hazard Identification and Mapping Program (FHIMP), a program that provides up to 50 per cent matched federal funding for eligible flood mapping projects. Funding will be released until March 2024 and aims to reduce the costs associated with updating these maps.

By identifying flood hazard areas, it aids in reducing the risk to property or people and increasing the accuracy of publicly-accessible flood maps, therefore informing land use planning decisions. The current official regulation mapping for the municipality of North Perth dates back to as early as 1976, with the latest edits being from 1992. With more accurate maps, the promise is that of preparation of future flooding and reducing long-term disaster assistance costs for Ontario.

The North Perth Mapping Project was presented to council by Chief Administrative Officer Kriss Snell, with the MC facilitating the application process and managing the project.

There are four major cost components associated with this North Perth Mapping Project. The LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), which provides base digital model elevation, will cost zero dollars, as the Ministry of Natural Resources will be conducting this and will cover costs for the entire project area. The hydrology component of the project, that determines routing flows, will cost an estimated $30,000. There is an urban mapping component which models flood extent that covers from Highway 23 to the drain confluence and costs $60,000. Finally, the rural mapping component, covering flood extent from Ethel to Highway 23, costs $85,000. The total cost of the project is projected to be $175,000.

With the FHIMP program possibly covering 50 per cent of the costs, North Perth would be responsible for the remaining $87,500. Should funding be received, this project will have to be included in the 2023 budget planning process.

Previously, this project would have been fully funded by the municipality.

“At least we are at the point now where we can get 50 per cent of our funding covered,” states Snell.

MC mentioned that individual property owners having to do studies on their own, would cost between $10,000 to $15,000. So by having these publicly-accessible flood maps, it would save individually incurred costs.

Concerns were raised during the council meeting regarding the proposed end date of the project, being that grant funding ends in March 2024 while the MC has proposed an end date of October 2024.

However, conservation authority staff believe they can finish this project within the allotted time.

“It would certainly rely on the outside consultation, [and the] consultants [doing] the project but they felt it could be done within that time frame and had no concerns about the timing of the application and grants, “ says Snell.

There was a unanimous vote by council to support the project, and the municipality has endorsed the application planned by MC to secure the grant funding from FHIMP.

Melissa Dunphy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner