2015 Program

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The LCF2015 Program will explore building resilient communities through four themes, click here for descriptions.


Sunday, September 27

Workshop: Tools for building flood resilience in local communities

The National Adaptation Working Group – which is made up of ICLEI, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Engineers Canada, the Canadian Institute of Planners, and the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction – is holding a workshop in conjunction with the Livable Cities Forum. The workshop will bring Town of Oakville (Ontario) staff to present the situation in Oakville and outline how the Town has been working to build flood resiliency. Using the Town as a case study in building flood resilience and participants will be guided through the use of three resources available to better mitigate against floods at the local level.

The workshop will provide an opportunity for local professionals, including municipal engineers, water management professionals, planners, emergency managers and sustainability professionals, to discuss major flooding challenges and how they can increase application of tools in their work.

Time: 1:00-5:30pm

Location: The Westin Calgary, Bonavista Room

Cost: Free for LCF delegates. $45 for Non-LCF delegates.

Click here to view the preliminary agenda and workshop flyer. *PLEASE NOTE THIS WORKSHOP IS NOW FULL*

Join us Sunday evening for the LCF Dine-Around!

The Sunday dine around event provides an opportunity for delegates to dine at local restaurants that were impacted by the flood in 2013 and hear from owner/managers about their experience.  You can sign up for the dine-around when you register for the Forum.  If you have already registered for the Forum and would like to attend the dine-around, please email hana.lapp@iclei.org with the name of the restaurant you would like to attend.  Click on each link below to explore the different restaurants available!

Yellow Door

119 12 Ave SW, Calgary


25 Prince’s Island Park, Calgary


2437 4 St SW, Calgary


4611 Bowness Rd NW

Meeting place: The Westin Calgary, conference level registration area

Day One

Monday, September 28


7:30 – 8:30 Registration and Buffet Breakfast


8:30 – 10:00 Opening Plenary

The opening plenary, a panel discussion between the Mayor, Ministers, and high-level executives, will focus on a vision of flood resilience in Canada. The panellists will explore questions of: Understanding the impacts of flooding on Canadian municipalities? How to plan for increased flooding across the country? What does it mean to mainstream flood resilience across sectors? and How to advance a vision are for building flood resilient communities?

Opening Remarks:

Minister Shannon Phillips, Ministry of Parks and Environment, Province of Alberta

Naheed Nenshi, Mayor, The City of Calgary

Carolyn Bowen, Program Manager, Flood Resiliency and Mitigation, The City of Calgary

Dave Murray, President, Canadian Water Resources Association

Megan Meaney, Director, ICLEI Canada


Rob Wesseling, Executive Vice-President, Chief Operating Officer, P&C Operations and Executive Vice-President, The Sovereign General Insurance Company

Paul Kovacs, Executive Director, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction

Moderated by: Chris Turner, Provocateur

10:00 – 10:25 COFFEE BREAK

10:25 – 12:00

Creating connections: Building trust to enhance communications

People generally trust information that comes from a reliable source or is consistent with the facts as known. This session will explore the importance and challenges of trust in communication systems and how these systems can benefit relationships between and within separate organizations.


Bill Ptacek, CEO, Calgary Public Library

Bruce MacArthur, President and CEO, Tesera - Communication and Trust Systems: Cities Rely on Them

Kim Sturgess, Executive Director, Alberta WaterSmart - The power of community-based communications in an emergency

Ann Wyganowski, Chief Practitioner and Vice President, HZX Business Continuity Planning - Trust in Communications Is your Crisis Communications Plan part of your BCP?

The economics of resilience

Implementing flood protection measures can be costly, particularly where it is being retrofitted into existing development. Uncertainty surrounding the economics of resiliency, for example the cost-benefit or the return on investment in resiliency measures, can make securing funding a challenge. Panellists will discuss the economics of flood protection – costs, opportunities, and challenges.


Elizabeth Atkinson, Director of Strategic Partnerships with the Interdisciplinary Centre for Climate Change, University of Waterloo - Supporting the Economic Case for Adaptation

Monica Mannerstrom, Principal, and Charlene Menezes, Geomorphologist, Northwest Hydraulic Consultants - Calculated Risk: Making a Case for Flood Mitigation in BC’s Lower Mainland

Dave MacMillan, Principal, KGS Group - Manitoba Flood Protection Projects: Project Justification and Benefits

Deborah Harford, Executive Director, Adaptation to Climate Change Team, Simon Fraser University - Planning and Paying for Ecosystem-based Adaptation and Flood Mitigation

Creating resilient regional infrastructure

Climate change is making us think differently about the design, effectiveness, and lifespan of municipal infrastructure. Increased precipitation, extreme weather, and heat will affect systems and infrastructure across the country, requiring action at every level. This session will shine a light on how we can build and maintain regional infrastructure in a changing climate.


Matt Osler, Project Supervisor, Engineering Department City of Surrey - Infrastructure resilience at City of Surrey

Quentin Chiotti, Senior Advisor, Sustainability, Planning and Policy, Metrolinx - Planning for Flood Resilience and Adaptation to Extreme Weather and Climate Change

Tamsin Lyle, Principal, Ebbwater Consulting - What we don’t know: Managing gaps in our understanding of infrastructure risk?

Christine Tu, Sr. Aquatic Ecologist, Toronto and Region Conservation - Naturalizing urban channels in Peel Region: Moving from resistance to resilience

Understanding community-level flood resilience

Local governments are working to identify impacts, to assess vulnerabilities and to develop strategies that increase flood resilience. However, as we build flood resilience, it is important to recognize that tangible vulnerabilities are often underpinned by an intangible system of attitudes, values, and cultural traditions that are rooted in the community. Engaging these communities and their various stakeholders to better understand their perception of flood risk and what resiliency means, is a crucial step in building flood resilience at the personal, community, and city-wide level.


Sarah Kerton, Sustainability Coordinator, City of Thunder Bay –  The Evolving Municipal/Community Interface: The Example of EarthCare in Thunder Bay

Reynold Medicine Traveller, Siksika Nation and Stephanie Rose Montesanti, University of Calgary - Post-Flood Response in Siksika First Nation: Developing a Culturally Appropriate Disaster Response Framework for First Nation Communities

Tom Sampson, Chief, Calgary Emergency Management Agency, The City of Calgary - Livable Cities: Understanding Community-level Flood Resilience

Isabelle Charron, Climate Scenario Specialist, OURANOS - Understanding community-level flood resilience

12:00 – 1:30 LUNCH

1:30 – 3:00

Come together - Engaging and empowering community builders

In times of crisis, strangers become friends, neighbours help neighbours, and the world seems to get a little smaller.  This session explores how we can empower the people in our communities to enhance their resiliency, response and recovery from flooding, from political leaders to the people down the street. Highlights include working with the media and faith-based groups.


Lucy Cummings, Executive Director, Faith and the Common Good - Engaging Faith Communities as Neighborhood Resilience Anchors

Mary Dhonau, Community Flood Consultant, Mary Dhonau Associates (MDA) - Working with Communities to encourage flood resilience: How can we influence behaviour change?

Michael Grogan, Vice President, Programs and Operation, Calgary Chamber of Volunteer Organizations (CCVO) - Building Resiliency in Community Organizations

Is flood protection a moving target?

There is uncertainty in all aspects of life. We seek to reduce this uncertainty to a mangeable level by acquiring as much information as possible. However, in most cases we have learned how to make decisions with the best information available as the cost of avoiding these decisions may be too high. This session will provide strategies and lessons learned from municipalities and climate scientists on how to move forward in the face of uncertainty.


Richard Guthrie, Senior Principal, Geohazards and Geomorphology, Stantec Consulting - The Nature of Catastrophic Events: From Theory to Practice

Susanne Torriente, Assistant City Manager, City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida - Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach case studies, Florida Regional Climate Change Compact

Tina Neale, Water Program Analyst, British Columbia Ministry of Environment - Flood Hazard Area Land Use Management Guidelines – Sea Level Rise Amendment

The Power of Partnerships

Partnerships are powerful mechanisms to enhance community resilience. They can bring together experts from across a variety of disciplines, build on their strengths, and create opportunities greater than the sum of its parts. This session will examine the role of partnerships in building flood resilience.


Barbara Turley-McIntyre Senior Director, Sustainability and Citizenship The Co-operators - Partners for Action

Brian Montgomery, Air & Climate Change Coordinator, City of Hamilton - Let’s Talk About the Weather: Building Partnerships on Climate Change

Eva Friesen, President and CEO, Calgary Foundation - Bridges Over Troubled Waters

Katie Black, Director, Community & Neighbourhood Services, The City of Calgary - Within and Across: Harnessing Municipal and Community Expertise

Collaborative flood responses using scenario planning

This session will introduce participants to the potential of scenario planning as a means to prepare for what could happen. It will provide an introductory overview of the methodology and how it produces a shared framework and language for strategic conversations within and across stakeholder groups that, in turn, offers a way for social systems to get unstuck and move forward. Session participants will be exposed to how scenarios are used to collaboratively respond in highly complex and uncertain environments.


Brenna Atnikov, Consultant, Reos Partners - Collaborative Flood Responses Using Scenario Planning

Josée Méthot, Planning Coordinator, Red Deer Watershed Alliance

3:00 – 3:25 COFFEE BREAK

3:25 – 5:00

Societal perception and tolerance of risk

A communities’ perception, and tolerance, of risk can be crucial in informing local policy and action. This session will explore the level of risk, from a variety of contexts, tolerated by communities, and how decisions are made regarding how much risk is acceptable. Presentations will touch on the value of engagement, understanding change, and the boundary between science, policy, and politics.


Desmond Hartford, Principal Engineering Scientist, Office of the Director of Dam Safety, BC Hydro – Please contact this speaker directly for details on presentation.

Fiona Dercole, Section Manager, Public Safety, District of North Vancouver - Talking with our Community about Risk

Mark Groulx, Faculty, University of Northern British Columbia - The Great Divide

Who does what? Roles and responsibilities in resilience planning

Resilience planning should occur at a variety of levels including: household, institutional, and governmental. Representatives from industry, local government, and the not-for-profit sector will discuss the nature of resilience planning and the respective roles and responsibilities of public and private stakeholders in building flood resilient communities.


Curniss McGoldrick, Climate Adaptation & Communication Coordinator, EarthCare Thunder Bay - The Role of Municipal Government in Adaptation Planning: Thunder Bay’s Approach

Deborah Carlson, Staff Council, West Coast Environmental Law - Filling Gaps and Supporting Collaborations: An ENGO Role in Climate Change Adaptation

Ryan Ness, Senior Manager, Research and Development, Toronto and Region Conservation - Who Does What? Flood Resilience Management in the Toronto Region

How can data improve resilience? A case study on sea level rise in BC

Our ability to predict, manage and cope with flooding is challenged by both the uncertainty surrounding climate change/variability and traditional methods of data analysis and reporting. Using the Lower Mainland of British Columbia as a case study, this session will examine the importance and limitations of data, and how it can be used and communicated to build a shared understanding of risk and opportunities to improve resilience. Examples of collaborative data collection, analysis and interpretation to improve long-term coastal flood management will be introduced.


Steve Litke, Senior Program Manager, Watersheds and Water Resources, Fraser Basin Council (Moderator) - Data Challenges and Opportunities Through Regional Collaboration: Towards a Regional Flood Management Strategy

Tamsin Lyle, Principal, Ebbwater Consulting - We Can’t Calculate That: Data and method gaps for flood consequence assessments in Canada

Thomas James, Research Scientist, Natural Resources Canada - Sea level Projections: Present Status, Uncertainty, and Outlook

Matt Osler, Project Engineer, City of Surrey - From Data to Understanding along City of Surrey’s Coastline

Resilience through placemaking and social innovation

What are some of the strategies and tools that groups, organizations and communities can develop, adapt and/or use to accelerate community resilience through placemaking and social innovation? This session will employ Open Space and enable participants to inquire about and discuss promising placemaking strategies and tools. Discussions will further explore how groups, organizations and communities can adapt, develop and use these promising practices to accelerate community resilience through placemaking.


Brenna Atnikov, Consultant, Reos Partners

Josée Méthot, Planning Coordinator, Red Deer Watershed Alliance

6:00 – 9:00 DINNER BANQUET

A chance for forum delegates and invited guests to network over cocktails and dinner.

Location: The Westin Calgary, Britannia Room

Keynote presentation: Stories of Resilience by Brian Keating, Naturalist and Wildlife Expert

Day Two

Tuesday, September 29


7:30 – 8:30 Registration and Buffet Breakfast


8:30 – 9:15 Morning Plenary

9:30 – 11:00

Concepts and tools for resilient water secure cities

Natural disasters may directly cause loss of life and they also have a huge impact on the social and economic structure of a society and its opportunities for development. People’s selective attention to risk can blind them to vulnerabilities that may lead human suffering, deterioration of ecosystems and material damage as a result of a natural disaster.  Join us for a workshop to highlight how increasing access to public debate about disaster preparedness and ensuring re-sponsiveness between people on opposite sides of a debate can increase resilience to water-based disasters.


Graham Strickert, Research Associate, Global Institute for Water Security, University of Saskatchewan - Some concepts and tools for resilient water security cities: A less than conventional approach

Investing in personal resilience across communities

Preventing damage to homes, livelihoods, and people is a paramount function of resilience; the responsibility for this is not just a function of government alone. This session will explore how households and individuals can become more resilient and will provide insight and lessons learned on flood preparedness.


Cindy Toth, Director, Environmental Policy, Town of Oakville - Keep Calm and Adapt: Activating Citizens for a Changing Climate

Paul Kovacs, Founder and Executive Director, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction - Cities Adapt to Extreme Rainfall: Celebrating Local Leadership

Mary Dhonau, Community Flood Consultant, Mary Dhonau Associates (MDA)

A Guidebook on climate scenarios: Using climate information to guide adaptation research and decisions

Climate information requirements from decision-makers vary according to their particular situation and expertise, such as the face of changing flood risks associated with climate change. The tailoring of climate information is therefore a crucial step in making sure that the information is not only understood but also used in an adaptation framework. This session will present a tool that aims to help decision-makers navigate through different types of climate information and highlight different ways it can be presented to them.


Isabelle Charron, Climate Scenario Specialist, OURANOS

Valerie Bourduas-Crouhen, Vulnerabilities, impacts and Adaptation Specialist, OURANOS

Master class (A) - Collaborative planning at the watershed scale

Urban centres are part of a bigger watershed system and collaborative efforts are imperative for cities to better understand and manage their upstream and downstream influences, impacts and relationships. Collaborative planning at the watershed scale means bringing together those that know water management best to enable informed, appropriate, and timely individual and basin-wide water management decisions and actions. This Master Class will draw on recent examples from drought and flood management in Alberta and the Netherlands to explore the process, benefits, and intended impacts of collaborative watershed planning.


Megan van Ham, Program Manager, Alberta WaterSMART - Collaborative Planning at the Watershed Scale

11:00 – 11:30 COFFEE BREAK

11:30 – 1:00

Roundtable conversations on building community-level flood resilience

Engaging communities to better understand flood risk and what they can do to enhance their personal, neighbourhood, and community resilience is key in developing flood resilient communities. This World Café style session will give participants a first hand opportunity to discuss issues relevant to building community-level flood resilience. Participants will move through three-rounds of table discussions, selecting up to three tables to join and contribute to the dialogue on a particular sub-theme. Tables will be organized by themes relevant to the subject and have a table-host to lead the conversation.

Table Hosts

Brian Montgomery, Air & Climate Change Coordinator, City of Hamilton

Dan Sandink, Manager, Resilient Communities & Research, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction

Deborah Harford, Executive Director, Adaptation to Climate Change Team, Simon Fraser University

Ewa Jackson, Manager, ICLEI Canada

Ryan Ness, Senior Manager, Research and Development, Toronto and Region Conservation

Resilience planning for public infrastructure and critical services

Continued operation and delivery of critical infrastructure and services, even in the face of an emergency, is paramount to public safety. This session will explore how public infrastructure can be protected and how critical services can be maintained.


Cathy Maniego, Executive Director, Resilience and Mitigation, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development - Changing the Pattern of Disaster Cost and Risk Sharing: Resilience planning for public infrastructure and critical services

David Lapp, Practice Lead, Engineering and Public Policy, Engineers Canada - Improving Infrastructure Flooding Resilience through Vulnerability Assessment and Professional Practice

Geoff Masotti, Business Unit Leader and Christina Cholkan, Project Engineer, Cole Engineering Group Ltd. - Things Are Getting Intense! Managing Flooding and Urbanization in Ontario

Greg Solecki, Manager, Emergency Management, The City of Calgary - Prioritizing Critical Infrastructure During Disaster

Exploring tools for municipal climate response in rural and urban communities

This session will explore two approaches to climate resilience planning – the Climate Resilience Express and the Building Adaptive and Resilient Communities (BARC) Program. Both programs offer communities a variety of tools and resources that can be used to plan for a changing climate in rural or urban settings.


Jeff Zukiwsky, Climate Adaptation and Resilience Specialist, All One Sky Foundation - Climate Resilience Express: Climate Resilience Planning in Smaller Communities

Christina Schwantes, Adaptation and Resilience Planner, ICLEI Canada - Building Adaptive and Resilient Communities (BARC) – A Framework for Climate Change Adaptation Planning in Communities

Susanna Niederer, Business Strategist, Strategic Planning and Governance, Environmental & Safety Management, The City of Calgary - Calgary’s Pathway to Climate Change Adaptation

Master class (B) - Participatory environmental modelling: Interactive tools to facilitate land use planning

Scientific computer models for studying hydrology are increasingly being used for land use planning, including flood preparedness. But what is a hydrological computer model, how does it work, and what can it tell us? This session will live-demonstrate the construction of a simple, but detailed model of the Bow River. The technologies used to present the model include 3D visualization and displaying the model on an interactive 3D printed surface of the Bow River catchment. The session will explore how stakeholders can use a hydrological model and directly interact with the simulated Bow River catchment and test management practices to see their effect.


Scott Heckbert, Environment and Carbon Management, Alberta Innovates -

1:00 – 2:00 LUNCH

2:00 – 3:30

Workshop: Are we on the right track? Tools and indicators to measure progress towards resilience

After a full program on understanding, planning and mainstreaming flood resilience, the Are we on the Right Track Workshop will advance the thematic discussions to the tools and indicators we can use to measure progress towards building flood resilience. Knowing where we are and where we want to go is an important part of advancing our resilience. This session will explore current trends in the development and application of indicators both nationally and internationally as well as the practical application of resiliency building tools and frameworks. Participants will engage is discussions on the process of selecting appropriate indicators and examine how they can be operationalized when they return home to their communities.


Kathy Sokolan-Oblak, Acting Recovery Director, Recovery Operations, The City of Calgary - City of Calgary corporate resiliency initiative

Ewa Jackson, Manager, ICLEI Canada - Are we there yet? Applying indicators to measure progress on adaptation

Matthew Lynch, Vice President, Global Partnerships & Initiatives, World Council on City Data - Standardized city indicators for urban resilience: ISO 37120 & the World Council on City Data

Resilient by design

Resilience planning is increasingly moving away from disaster recovery and rebuilding to disaster prevention and avoidance. Changing urban design and land use patterns are key dimensions in moving towards resilient communities. This session will explore how cities and communities can be designed to withstand or prevent flood risk.


Bert Struik, Emeritus Research Scientist, Natural Resources Canada - Risk-based Land-use Guide: Safe use of land based on hazard risk management

David Waggonner, President, Waggonner and Ball Architects - 

Darrell Sargent, Coordinator, City Wide & Regional Strategies, The City of Calgary - Building Resiliency through Land Use Planning

Working with nature to advance resilience

Protecting and restoring natural systems is a crucial aspect of flood resilience. These systems offer simple and effective ways to absorb and store water thereby reducing the risk of floods and storms. This session will explore how we can advance resilience by working with nature to mitigate the impacts of flooding.


DG Blair, Executive Director and Green Shores Program Manager, Stewardship Centre for BC - Green Shores – Using an incentives-based program for resilient shorelines

Steve Litke, Senior Program Manager, Watersheds and Water Resources, Fraser Basin Council - Flood management and the environment in BC’s lower mainland

Todd Cashin, Manager/Deputy Approving Officer, Suburban & Rural Planning, City of Kelowna - Fish assembly line shows off new curves at mission creek

Harpreet Sandhu, Team Lead, Resource Strategy, City of Calgary - City of Calgary Riparian Action Program: Integrating Resiliency and Watershed Management

Master class (C) - Prepared for any crisis: Business continuity planning

In the event of a major flood, ice storm, or power disruption, it is critical to have a structured approach to building a business continuity plan and to put the plan into effect. This session details how to implement a business continuity planning program to protect your resources (human, technological, and physical) and sensitive information in the event of a crisis.


Ann Wyganowski, Chief Practitioner and Vice President, HZX Business Continuity Planning - Prepared for any crisis – Business Continuity Planning



Join us for an interactive session and connect with Calgarians to discuss how municipalities can build safe and desirable flood resilient communities. Hear about the challenges Calgarians faced during one of Canada’s worst natural disasters in history and the steps taken locally to build resiliency.

Location: The Westin Calgary, Bonavista Room

Day Three

Wednesday, September 30


7:00 – 8:00 Buffet Breakfast

7:30 Study tour meet up in Britannia room.  

8:00 – 12:30 LOCAL STUDY TOURS

Bow River Rafting Tour

Explore Calgary’s Bow River by raft and see how the river has changed since the 2013 flood. During this tour you will learn about flood barriers, what Calgary has done to strengthen the river banks and see first-hand how communities were impacted by flooding. You’ll visit riverside parks to learn how they’ve recovered since 2013, and get an understanding of the role of riparian areas in flooding. Weather and activity appropriate clothing is required for this outing. **PLEASE NOTE THIS TOUR IS FULL**

Community Resiliency Walking Tour

Walk through communities along the Bow River to hear how they responded, recovered and are becoming more resilient to flooding. This tour will include visits to inner city mixed use and residential neighbourhoods, as well as, downtown businesses. Evacuation challenges, business continuity, vulnerable populations, site-scale resilience measures, and groundwater and storm water flooding will be highlighted.

High River Study Tour

In 2013 the Town of High River found itself at the epicentre of the most destructive floods in Canada’s history. Travel to High River and explore the impacts from 2013, and how High River is preparing for future floods. On this tour you will learn about and discuss the decision to remove entire neighbourhoods, plans for a new diking system, the redevelopment of the downtown and long-term effects on small businesses.

The Infrastructure Flood Test

Explore how infrastructure can mitigate, withstand, and continue to operate when floods hit. Find out how the Glenmore Dam and water treatment plant mitigated the peak flow during the 2013 flood while supplying clean drinking water to over 1 million Calgarians, and discover how facility upgrades will build flood resiliency.  Visit the Calgary Stampede grounds to understand how the flood impacted the 2013 Stampede and what actions are being taken to ensure flood safety and preparedness for Calgary’s biggest event.

Program Themes

Understanding– What does it mean for a community to build resilience to floods? This theme will explore what resilience means for communities by examining methods for assessing the economic and social impacts of flooding, approaches for analysing the value of flood protection works, the role of data and collaborative analysis for improving mitigation, and how communities decide what amount of flood risk they are willing to tolerate.

Planning – How does a community build resilience? Planning resilience involves anticipating risks, protecting people and property, and developing recovery mechanisms. This theme will examine how flood resilience can be incorporated into existing and planned development, providing examples of best practices and lessons learned through the experiences of Calgary and other municipalities.

Mainstreaming – Why does resilience need to be part of the everyday? Emerging work on building resilient communities emphasizes the need to ‘mainstream’ resilience into processes such as planning, policy, community engagement, and within organizations. Interactive sessions will provide an opportunity to discuss topics that include communications and meaningful engagement on flood risk and mitigation, and partnerships to reduce flood impacts to the social and economic structure of a community.

Advancing – How can we ensure we continue to building flood resilience into the future? This theme will highlight ways to monitor progress towards resiliency, natural resiliency measures, climate change considerations in decision-making, and how people and organizations can be empowered to enhance a community’s resiliency.