Proposed changes to the Land Use Bylaw: WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU.

April 26, 2014 by CRC Action Group in News

Proposed changes to the Land Use Bylaw: WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU.

Proposed changes to  Land Use Bylaw 1P2007 for the Flood Hazard Area will come before City Council on May 12, 2014.  If approved by City Council, these changes to the Land Use Bylaw could have a significant impact on your property.

Impact on your property.

If the proposed changes to the Land Use Bylaw are approved and adopted as law, this is how the changes may impact your property:

  • Most homes in the Flood Hazard Area, which includes the flood fringe, overland flow areas and the floodway, will immediately become non-conforming.
  • If you apply for a Development Permit (DP), e.g., to build an addition, and your home is non-conforming, the City can impose flood mitigation design criteria on the addition and the existing home or refuse the DP for failure to comply.
  • Imposing flood mitigation design criteria can mean: requiring compliance with setbacks from the river (e.g., 30m for Elbow, 60m for Bow); raising the height of your main floor above the flood level for your area; and moving your electrical and mechanical equipment above the flood level (i.e., moving your furnace, hot water tank and electrical panel out of your basement).  You will have to find room in your home above the flood level to accommodate the electrical and mechanical equipment.
  • The costs to comply with the flood mitigation design criteria could easily rise into the tens of thousands of dollars, rendering your home paralyzed from any future renovations requiring a DP.  Think of the impact on your own home’s value and the overall neighbourhood property values.
  • If you have already received a DP from the City to repair or rebuild your flood damaged home and haven’t completed the work – can the City now impose the flood mitigation design criteria on your home?  We don’t know.
  • We also worry about the impact for those in river communities who own ground, lower level or split-level units.

NOTE: Our understanding of the above comes from the City’s Administration Report to the Calgary Planning Commission, March 27, 2014, the entire copy of which can be obtained at  We urge you to review the entire Administration Report.  We may have erred in our interpretation of the report and we make no representations as to accuracy.

Reflections on the City’s approach.

The City’s Administration Report states that the “proposed rule changes also seek to minimize public confusion by ensuring that Calgary’s approach mirrors that of the Province”, with reference to the Province’s policy with regard to future entitlement to Disaster Recovery Program (DRP) funding. It is our view that these proposed amendments do not in fact mirror the Province’s approach.

The City’s Administration Report further states that these changes are to maximize public safety and minimize risk and property damage.  We do not believe the location of the electrical and mechanical equipment of a home maximizes public safety, as in the event of flood, all people will be evacuated and gas and electricity can be shut off by the City.

We are confused by the City’s concern to minimize personal property damage, when the City contributed nothing to homeowner’s to repair their flood damaged homes – the majority of the cost being borne by you, the homeowner, with supplemental funding in some instances by insurance and/or the disaster recovery program.  The cost to comply with the flood mitigation design criteria could be 10 times the cost of replacement of electrical and mechanical equipment, in the event of a future flood event – which by basic math is nonsensical.

The statement in the City’s Administration Report that “Administration is not soliciting feedback on these amendments as they were developed to address the safety of affected individuals and the city as a whole” is utterly inconsistent with the actual effect of the proposed amendments – as they do not address safety of affected individuals or the city as whole.  Without a sound rationale, these amendments should not be rushed through City Council without appropriate community feedback and consultation.

Get this changed. Speak up now.

What you can do is to write and call the Mayor and the Councillors at City Hall  to let them know that:
as a community we have struggled to rebuild our homes under trying circumstances and largely at our own expense;
these proposed amendments do not improve flood protection for our communities nor increase public safety;
the flood mitigation design criteria imposed on homeowners goes well beyond requirements imposed by the Province of Alberta with respect to future entitlement for disaster recovery program assistance; and
these proposed amendments may permanently undermine existing home value.

Attend the public hearing, scheduled for May 12th.

The contact information for each Councillor:

Position    Name    Email Address
(copy and paste all in “to” box of your email)
Calgary Mayor    Naheed Nenshi;;;;;;;;;;;;;
Ward 1 Councillor    Ward Sutherland
Ward 2 Councillor    Joe Magliocca
Ward 3 Councillor    Jim Stevenson
Ward 4 Councillor    Sean Chu
Ward 5 Councillor    Ray Jones
Ward 6 Councillor    Richard Pootmans
Ward 7 Councillor    Druh Farrell
Ward 8 Councillor    Evan Woolley
Ward 9 Councillor    Gian-Carlo Carra
Ward 10 Councillor    Andre Chabot
Ward 11 Councillor    Brian Pincott
Ward 12 Councillor    Shane Keating
Ward 13 Councillor    Diane Colley-Urquhart
Ward 14 Councillor    Peter Demong

IMPORTANT NOTE: CRCAG is providing you awareness of these issues so you can gather the information you need to make decisions and voice your concerns.  CRCAGs information should not be relied on for any purpose and we expressly disclaim any liability for any use of the information provided.  A major source of information for this posting came from the Administration Report to the Calgary Planning Commission, March 27, 2014, the entire copy of which can be obtained at