IBC Honours Disaster Prepared Communities

VANCOUVER, May 7, 2003 – Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) today launched the new, national Foundation for the Future program that recognizes the efforts of communities to manage exposure to natural disasters, extreme weather and weather-related events.

At a ceremony in Vancouver today, Insurance Bureau of Canada President and CEO Stan Griffin also announced the first five communities to be recognized under the program. “It’s particularly appropriate to celebrate their successes during Emergency Preparedness Week. Each of the honourees has shown leadership in disaster loss prevention and will serve as a model to their peers across the country.”

The five communities receiving IBC’s Foundation for the Future recognition are: Nanaimo, BC; La Ronge, Saskatchewan; Leamington, Ontario; Saint-Constant, Quebec and Little Brook, Nova Scotia. Their efforts include building a new fire hall, improving firefighting tools, introducing better disaster protection skills to the community and improving flood prevention measures, among others. (A detailed summary is attached.)

“Natural disasters are hitting Canadians with increasing frequency and severity,” said Mr. Griffin. “While we can be proud of the way we respond to natural disasters, there are steps that can be taken to ensure communities are better prepared to withstand the effects of these disasters.”

IBC is working with all levels of government to create a culture of preparedness and all are embracing the need for everyone to be better prepared.

Ontario and Quebec are creating two of the most progressive disaster management systems in North America. With the federal government, Manitoba has announced an additional $80 million investment in improving the Winnipeg Floodway, the largest federal-provincial infrastructure investment partnership in that province since the floodway’s construction in the early 1960s.

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national trade association of the private property and casualty insurance industry. It represents the companies that provide more than 90 per cent of the private home, car and business insurance in Canada. To view news releases and information, visit the media section of our web site at www.ibc.ca.


Nanaimo, British Columbia – recognized for its Emergency Program

IBC’s Foundation for the Future recognizes the City of Nanaimo for its outstanding effort to foster a culture of disaster mitigation among its citizens while enhancing their awareness of the potential for natural disasters.

The City of Nanaimo’s Emergency Program has as its goal to help every resident prepare a plan to minimize the effects of a disaster. Under the program, volunteers are trained to work in disaster response, support and recovery programs.

The emergency program offers a Personal Preparedness Workshop to groups of neighbours, community organizations, agencies, and others.

The City of Nanaimo website includes detailed information on survival plans, response and recovery, while also alerting citizens to potential threats such as earthquakes, power blackouts, major winter storms, and large fires.

Nanaimo is also a participant in the Partners for Climate Protection Program (PCP). The PCP program helps Canadian municipalities prepare and implement local climate action plans. In doing so, PCP directly supports community sustainable development across Canada.

Accepting Foundation for the Future for the Emergency Program in Nanaimo, British Columbia:

Mr. Jim Kipp
Nanaimo Emergency Program
Nanaimo, British Columbia


La Ronge, Saskatchewan – recognized for its booster station upgrade

IBC’s Foundation for the Future congratulates La Ronge, Saskatchewan for its foresight in improving firefighting tools and water services through the booster station upgrade.

La Ronge has a population of more than 4,000 and is located approximately 300 km north of Prince Albert. In 1999, a forest fire spread into La Ronge, causing an evacuation of the town. It stretched for eight square kilometres and destroyed eight buildings. More than 245 firefighters, supported by water bombers, spent a week battling the blaze.

Soon after, a report commissioned by Saskatchewan Water Corporation identified that the town did not have sufficient storage capacity to provide the recommended two days of average water demand. A project was then initiated to increase the town’s treated-water storage capacity.

The booster station upgrade involves building a new separate reservoir and pumping station. The project will improve fire flow rates and storage capacity to enhance the ability of firefighters to minimize damage and, potentially, save lives.

Accepting Foundation for the Future for the booster station upgrade in La Ronge, Saskatchewan:

Mr. John Wade
Town Administrator
La Ronge, Saskatchewan


Leamington, Ontario – recognized for its flood mitigation efforts

IBC’s Foundation for the Future congratulates Leamington, Ontario for its outstanding efforts in the area of flood disaster prevention.

The Municipality of Leamington is a community of 27,138 located at the southern tip of Ontario, on Lake Erie. In 1989, a flood caused more than $39 million in damage to Leamington.

Flood victims vowed to block all future development in their east-end neighbourhood until the drainage system was improved; residents recognized that their homes were prone to flooding, even after moderate rainstorms, and that more houses would increase the flood threat. There was concern that insurance companies could cancel sewer back-up clauses in home insurance policies, which, in turn, could lead to lawsuits against the municipality to cover damages.

City engineers looked into the problem and determined what improvements needed to be made, based on normal rainfall in the area. The result was the construction of a new headworks facility at the Leamington Pollution Control Centre.

The project was developed to reduce basement flooding and provide a more efficient treatment of the wastewater that will improve the effluent quality.

“The improvements to our treatment facility confirm the municipal, provincial and federal governments’ commitment to develop solutions that provide for a healthy and safe environment for the citizens of Leamington.”

– Mayor Dave Wilkinson.

Accepting Foundation for the Future for the flood mitigation efforts in Leamington, Ontario:

John Adams
Deputy Mayor
Leamington, Ontario


Saint-Constant, Québec- recognized for flood mitigation efforts

IBC’s Foundation for the Future recognizes Saint-Constant’s special efforts to mitigate flood damage.

Saint-Constant, like many other cities and towns in the Montérégie area, has had its adjoining rivers flood on several occasions during the last decade, resulting in considerable sewer back-up problems for its citizens. In 1995, the Municipal Council adopted a resolution authorizing the development of a plan for managing the St. Pierre and St. Régis Rivers.

Following many requests by the city, the Québec Department of Transport performed work on the storm sewer system and drainage ditches. Other work was done on the sanitation system, including the construction of a sanitary sewer pipeline and the introduction of a drinking water awareness and conservation

In 1994, the city launched the Programme Pluvial et Clapet (the storm and valve program) aiming to inspect private plumbing installations and make alterations needed to reduce damage caused by sewer back-up (installation of flapgates and suction pumps, etc.). The implementation of this program gave rise to the adoption of new regulations demanding that new buildings be equipped with installations in compliance with a specific standard.

In 1998, the municipality embarked on Phase II of the Programme Pluvial et Clapet, the purposes of which were the following: to reduce the risk of sewer back-up in privately-owned buildings; to oblige property owners to repair private plumbing installations and other defects; and to eliminate excess flow from the sewer system.

The municipality also examined all the claims that had been submitted to it between 1995 and 1998 and issued recommendations to prevent any recurrence of this type of damage (replacement of check valves, discharge from sump pumps, eaves troughs, etc.).

The residents of the municipality can now obtain sewer back-up coverage in their home insurance policies and are no longer concerned about excessive spring flooding.

Saint-Constant is also congratulated for holding discussions on and improving the preparation of emergency measures through the implementation of Phase III of flood prevention work on rivers adjoining its territory.

Accepting Foundation for the Future for the flood mitigation efforts in Saint-Constant Québec:

Mr. Daniel Ashby
Saint-Constant, Québec


Little Brook, Nova Scotia – recognized for its fire station upgrade

IBC’s Foundation for the Future applauds Little Brook, Nova Scotia for its foresight in constructing a new fire station.

The Little Brook Fire Department provides fire protection to approximately 1,100 homes and cottages, 100 businesses, two churches (one being the tallest wooden structure in North America), one school, and University Sainte-Anne. The fire department has 24 volunteers who responded to 52 calls in 2002.

Construction is soon to begin on a new and improved fire station for Little Brook.

The existing fire station in Little Brook was purchased 40 years ago and renovated from an old auto repair shop. By the 1980’s the facility had become cramped after the purchase of the department’s first factory-built pumper/tanker.

Today there are three ULC approved fire trucks and one cab van in the existing facility with only inches of space between them. Volunteer firefighters knew that eventually a new station would be needed, but their top priority was to upgrade the department’s firefighting equipment.

Three years ago, a building committee was set up to start working towards a new fire station. The committee’s job was to design the building and apply for funding for this project — they drafted a plan and presented it to government representatives.

On November 30, 2002, it was announced that an amount of $516,534 would be put toward this project by the Canada-Nova Scotia Infrastructure Program. The new fire station will be double the size of the existing one and construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2003.

“The good health and safety of Little Brook residents are our top priority.”

– Andre Leblanc, Little Brook Fire Chief.

Accepting Foundation for the Future for the Fire Station upgrade in Little Brook, Nova Scotia:

Andre Leblanc
Fire Chief
Little Brook, Nova Scotia