Editor’s Note – Spring 2019

As we are sending this issue to print, thousands of Canadians are personally impacted by flooding in their communities. Flooding is the costliest and the most frequent hazard in Canada. Yet, every year there is a sense of unexpectedness as truly difficult times unfold for Canadians across the country. We are grateful to all of those responding and wish all those impacted strength in the long months of recovery ahead.

In this carefully curated issue, we take a deep dive to better understand the process behind flood risk creation and feature some of the leading solutions that were developed in Canada and internationally.

The research section features a national survey that shows that Canadians are typically unaware of their flood risk and are caught off-guard by the economic burden that flooding imposes. Yet, Canadians personally bear roughly $600 million in flood-related losses every year. Find out about the three tools that could improve flood risk management.

Read about an innovative methodology ‘Experience Feedback’ from flood events to identify lessons learned for flood risk management. This project revealed that flood victims and local officials in Quebec have a genuine interest in sharing their experience to help design better risk management policies.

Looking beyond Canada, we can learn from a study on flood losses in Europe that have occurred since 1870 which shows that growth in flood losses in Europe can be explained by growing exposure, while vulnerability is shown to decline with economic development.

We highlight the STAR-FLOOD project that has investigated efforts to diversify flood risk management (FRM) modes in Belgium, England, France, the Netherlands, Poland, and Sweden. Findings from the project show that a range of FRM modes will be required to anticipate the consequences of urbanization and climate change.

Our feature is a remarkable story told by responders of the amazing teamwork and cooperation witnessed in recovering from the worst flooding in the Kootenay Boundary region’s modern history. Through their own words, we highlight key lessons learned for response and recovery.

In our Policy section, Dr Matthew Godsoe shares insights about Canada’s recently released Emergency Management Strategy.

Get inspired by the work happening on the ground in the realm of Indigenous emergency management in our Practice section. Read about the groundbreaking work happening in Saskatchewan between the Prince Albert Grand Council and the Canadian Red Cross, and a personal reflection of an Indigenous Masters student working at Indigenous Services Canada.

The Buoyant Foundation Project develops strategies for retrofitting flood-vulnerable homes with amphibious foundations as an alternative to flood risk reduction strategies. Find out how the first full-scale prototype, representing a typical New Orleans shotgun-style house, has expanded internationally.

As with every HazNet issue, we bring some of the most valuable international lessons to Canada. Viking-style flood recovery and building back better takes place in the cultural centre of a village on the banks of the Foss River in York, England, that dates back 1000 years. We examine how the Jorvik Viking Centre not only reopened in just 16 months after a flood, but it was completely rebuilt, renovated, and reimagined in a better way.

Read about key lessons learned from the Black Friday fires in Victoria, Australia that killed 173 people, and damaged thousands of homes and businesses. This article calls for moving beyond the most common emergency management pitfalls of planning for the most recent event – “to be planning to fight the next big fire not the one we have just fought.”

In our Awards section, we celebrate Alain Normand as the recipient of the “Scanlon Lifetime Achievement Award”, CRHNet’s highest honour.

Many thanks to our contributors and peer reviewers for another spectacular issue that brings timely and timeless content of flood risk management. I want to thank our incredibly dedicated and talented team that does the largely invisible work of content solicitation, content creation, copy edits and layout. Many thanks to Nicole Spence, Carime Quezada, Suzy Waldman, Shaun Koopman and Ivan Chow and many other volunteers who make HazNet possible.

A very special “thank you” goes to Tressa Peters, a youth from Lil’wat Nation (British Columbia) for her permission to use her image as our cover shot. Tressa’s school, the Xet̓ólacw Community School, is located in the Xetólacw Village site, in the central portion of Mount Currie Indian Reserve No. 6, Lílwat’s largest reserve. The village is a planned community that was developed in the 1980s in response to flooding concerns. As flooding risk increases with climate change, communities across Canada may need to learn from Tressa’s community about community relocation process.

This issue’s diverse content from across Canada and the world shows one common theme, a theme of shared responsibility. To build resilience, we need to break the government silos, we need to foster better collaboration and cooperation, we need to build partnerships and we need to engage and move forward as a whole of society. Canadians, communities, governments, and multiple stakeholders all have a role to play in building resilience. As citizens and community organizers, let’s roll up our sleeves and start the often-difficult conversations about understanding the risks that our communities face. Understanding this risk is our first step in dealing with it.

HazNet will be turning 10 in the fall. To celebrate this milestone, we will address one of the most urgent and unexplored topic of (in)equity and disaster risk reduction. We welcome your contributions!