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Assessing flood risk for watershed communities – study

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Jul 2nd, 2018
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NVCA Board of Director Meeting Highlights June 22, 2018 – from the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority

Peter Alm, Water Resource Engineer, and Kristopher Robinson, GIS Technologist, presented the results of NVCA’s recently completed Watershed Flood Risk Assessment.
The study looked at the extent of flood damage/risk possible under a variety of storm events for the communities of Alliston, Angus, Collingwood, Creemore, Elmvale, Shelburne, and Stayner. These communities were selected based on the estimated number of structures at risk in the floodplain.
Using 2-dimensional flood models and looking at factors such as warning time, affected population, road access and total damages, the study ranked the communities in terms of risk. The details from the assessment will be of interest to municipalities and other agencies as they work to refine floodplain mapping and improve emergency response to flooding events.
This project was funded by the National Disaster Mitigation Program (NDMP) of Public Safety Canada. NVCA has secured additional funding from this program to study the communities affected by the June 23, 2017, storm. Further, NVCA is undertaking a floodplain mapping exercise for Wasaga Beach and the lower part of the Nottawasaga River.
The report is available on the NVCA website at https://www.nvca.on.ca/planning-permits/engineering-review-guidelines

Increased support for engineering plan review
The board supported a staff recommendation to develop a roster of engineering consultants to assist in technical review, with the intent of reducing the current number of active permit/planning applications.
Since 2014, NVCA has seen an increase in the number of applications from 1,065 in 2014 to 1,900 in 2017. Coupled with recent staffing changes (retirement/turnover) a review backlog has ensued. While staffing levels are back to a full complement, additional support is needed to reduce the number of active applications to a more manageable amount.
It is expected that user fees will cover a portion of this cost. The board approved the use of up to $50,000 from reserves to cover any outstanding costs.

New foundation to be established
The board approved that staff move forward with the establishment of a registered foundation to assist NVCA in raising funds for capital projects and other initiatives. Currently 75% of Ontario’s conservation authorities have associated foundations that support special programs and capital projects.

Options for managing donated lands
NVCA receives donated lands for conservation purposes. These lands may come from private residents, developers and others. Depending on the nature of the property, ongoing care of these lands may come at a considerable cost (taxes, maintenance, etc.).
Recognizing that each donated property has unique challenges and opportunities, the board approved a report from staff outlining a series of options to recoup the cost of managing these lands over time.

In brief
During the meeting the board also:
· Received an update from the Oak Ridges Moraine Groundwater Program, including a work plan for 2018.
· Approved the use of up to $4,000 from the NVCA’s land acquisition reserve as matching funds for an arts, culture and heritage grant received from Simcoe County. The grant is in support of a NVCA project to increase the use of conservation areas by groups from the recreation, environment, arts, culture and heritage, and health (mental and physical wellbeing) sectors in order to expand outdoor public programming for local residents and visiting tourists.
· Approved the use of up to $20,000 of deferred project levy in support of the Healthy Waters Program.
· Received a report outlining the number of permits and approvals issued by NVCA staff between December 6, 2017, and June 7, 2018: a total of 101 permits were issued and 96 clearances were approved.

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