Loading articles...

Waterways residents overwhelmingly support flood mitigation plan

Last Updated Oct 3, 2016 at 4:52 pm MST

A home and neighbouring playground in Waterways damaged in the wildfire. SARAH ANDERSON. Reporter.

According to a survey done between September 8 and 30, 68 per cent of Waterways residents are in favour of going ahead with the status quo plan to rebuild their homes as close as possible to the way they were before the wildfire, including flood mitigation and land use concerns.

That option was one of three presented by the RMWB in the survey and one of four that will ultimately be considered by the municipality for the future of the community.

The status quo option would require home owners to either install their own flood proofing measures at their own cost to meet the requirements for flood proofing or would require the municipality to install flood mitigation measures to protect all of Waterways and the Lower Townsite according to provincial regulations.

The survey was intended for Waterways residents only and asked residents to indicate which of the following three rebuild options, if any, was their preferred choice:

  • Status Quo: rebuild as close to how it was as possible, which would include flood mitigation and land use concerns.
  • Internal Land Swap: rebuild in Waterways but not necessarily to the same lot and land specifications as before. This option comes with historic issues related to the Industrial Minerals Salt Plant land as well as slope stability issues; this land would need to be serviced and lot subdivisions may occur.
  • External Land Swap: rebuild outside of Waterways and not necessarily to the same lot and land specifications as before. This option would only apply for the lots located within the flood plain, as well as the 46 vacant lots located outside of the flood plain that have slope stability issues; this land would need to be serviced.


The above three options were a result of the Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee’s initial review and were presented as a first step towards gathering feedback from residents. The Municipality recognized there may be other options, and as part of the survey, encouraged Waterways residents to share other potential options for consideration.

A fourth option, a possible buyout of land, was presented by residents.


The Municipality will continue to explore the buyout option to determine what such a program will look like and to fully understand the financial implications of the option.

The results of this survey will be formally presented to the WBRC on Wednesday, October 5, 2016, for their consideration.

This feedback will help Committee members understand priorities identified by the residents of Waterways and assist in making policy recommendations on how to proceed with the Waterways recovery.

In the meantime, council will be debating the second and third readings of a by-law amendment Tuesday evening that would repeal Bylaw No. 13/032, which includes provisions that imposed certain special restrictions and requirements on developments in areas susceptible to overland flooding, including Waterways.