Multilevel governance of flood hazards: municipal flood bylaws in British Columbia, Canada

TitleMultilevel governance of flood hazards: municipal flood bylaws in British Columbia, Canada
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsStevens, M, Hanschka, S
JournalNatural Hazards Review
KeywordsBritish Columbia, content analysis, Flood risk management, Multilevel governance, Municipal bylaws

Municipal governments are often reluctant to voluntarily adopt land-use plans and bylaws that can help reduce losses from natural hazards. After major floods inspired the federal government of Canada and provincial government of British Columbia (BC) to mandate and monitor flood risk management activities in BC municipalities, the senior governments downloaded responsibility for risk management back to municipalities in 2003–2004. The provincial government simultaneously published a set of guidelines for municipalities to follow in developing flood bylaws. Concerns that these guidelines would be insufficient to foster effective municipal flood risk management are identified. The content of 55 municipal bylaws are analyzed to determine the extent to which they are consistent with the guidelines and other best practices in flood risk management. The guidelines have not been successful at fostering widespread municipal participation. It is recommended that provincial and/or state governments (1) require municipalities to adopt flood bylaws that include effective standards for addressing flood risks, and (2) make disaster assistance available only to those municipalities that engage in adequate flood risk management.

DOI10.1007/s11069-014-1117-4, 907-932