For Immediate Release
Know your flood risks
Newmarket, ON – May 29, 2017 - recent national study suggests that many Canadians are unaware of the risks posed by flooding. The study, Canadian Voices on Changing Flood Risk, surveyed 2,300 people living in flood risk zones across Canada and found that 94% of them didn't know they were at risk.
According to Tom Hogenbirk, Manager of Engineering at the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA), there's no reason this number should be so high in Ontario. "I'd like to think that more Ontarians are taking advantage of what conservation authorities' offer," Mr. Hogenbirk says.
Hogenbirk oversees flood protection efforts at LSRCA, one of 36 conservation authorities (CAs) in Ontario. Conservation authorities are unique to Ontario, with a key mandate to protect people and property from flooding and other natural hazards.
While the CA mandate to protect includes monitoring watershed conditions and providing warnings of potential for flooding, a lesser known role that factors big into the equation is managing development in high risk areas. "Regulating development in flood prone zones is probably the simplest and most efficient way we protect people," says Bev Booth, Manager of Regulations at LSRCA.
Conservation authorities employ specialized staff with expertise in a range of disciplines like hydrology, climate change, ecology and biology - to name just a few. They also have staff versed in the various pieces of legislation that exist. Bev acknowledges that it can be a real challenge to try and explain how all these factor into their decisions.
Conservation authorities in Ontario face a number of challenges in their role of protecting residents from natural hazards such as flooding. The world is not static, which means flood zone maps need to be updated regularly. Infrastructure is aging and therefore not keeping pace with the new pressures placed on it by climate change and extreme weather. Still, the CA mandate to protect people and property from flooding means they are a resource for anyone looking to understand their flood risk.
LSRCA has maps that you can view online anytime. The maps show areas that lie within its regulations, which include flood zones. To see if your property is located within a regulated area, visit www.maps.LSRCA.on.ca. To find out if you are in a flood zone, you must call the LSRCA office at
905-895-1281 or come in person to 120 Bayview Parkway in Newmarket. The office is open regular business hours (8:30 – 4:30), Monday to Friday.
It is the mission of the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority to work with our community to protect and restore the Lake Simcoe watershed by leading research, policy and action.
Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority
Phone: 905-895-1281, ext. 315
Toll Free: 1-800-465-0437
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