Flood Resiliency: Insights from a survey of the Calgary business community

Flood Resiliency: Insights from a survey of the Calgary business community

The Calgary Chamber of Commerce has been working for 124 years to build a stronger and more prosperous Calgary business community. This mission took on a new dimension after the 2013 flood raged through the city’s downtown core—damaging businesses, homes,  property and public infrastructure.

Once the waters receded, Calgary had sustained unprecedented damage. With a nearly $6 billion price tag, the flooding in southern Alberta was deemed one of the most expensive natural disasters in Canadian history. Dozens of businesses were directly flooded,  damaging their operations, their facilities and their equipment. In addition, thousands of businesses were harmed by days of lost productivity and sales, as well as supply-chain disruptions. Disasters such as these are felt both on the bottom line and in the morale of the business community.

Only by knowing where we stand can we form effective plans on how to improve.

More than a year later, the Calgary Chamber continues to play an essential role in helping businesses recover from the damage and build resiliency to minimize the impact of future events.

In line with this mission, the Chamber has conducted a survey of its members and the community at large to better understand the full impacts of the flood, and assess both disaster mitigation efforts and flood recovery programs. We hope that the passage of time has offered business owners a more holistic view of the impact the flood had on their community and livelihoods.

The survey asks questions about the effect of the flood, disaster preparedness activities and business owners’ opinions on government support programs. In doing so, the survey allows us to identify key successes and highlight any shortcomings. The goal is to better  nderstand the current level of disaster resiliency and to provide insights on how we can better prepare for future contingencies.

The key question that the survey attempts to answer in the face of all these disasters and seemingly random business interruptions is this: Just how resilient are we? Specifically, the survey examines the role of both independent mitigation activities undertaken by businesses and the effectiveness of government programs that assisted in postdisaster recovery.

This work supported by

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Burns & McDonnell

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Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance

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