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

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

Click here to view the preliminary agenda and workshop flyer. You can sign up to attend the workshop on the Livable Cities Forum Registration Page. If you have already registered for the Forum, but would like to attend the Workshop, please send an email to hana.lapp@iclei.org. Non-LCF delegates can Register here

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

River Cafe

25 Prince’s Island Park, Calgary

Silver Dragon

106 3 Ave SE, Calgary


2437 4 St SW, Calgary


4611 Bowness Rd NW

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?

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

Kim Sturgess, Executive Director, Alberta WaterSmart

Ann Wyganowski, Chief Practitioner and Vice President, HZX Business Continuity Planning

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, Senior Policy Manager, Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Division,Natural Resources Canada

Monica Mannerstrom, Principal, and Charlene Menezes, Geomorphologist, Northwest Hydraulic Consultants

Dave MacMillan, Principal, KGS Group

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

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

Quentin Chiotti, Senior Advisor, Sustainability, Planning and Policy, Metrolinx

Tamsin Lyle, Principal, Ebbwater Consulting

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

Reynold Medicine Traveller, Siksika Nation

Stephanie Rose Montesanti, University of Calgary

Tom Sampson, Chief, Calgary Emergency Management Agency, The City of Calgary

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 will explore how we can empower the people in our communities to enhance resiliency, from political leaders to the people down the street.


Lucy Cummings, Executive Director, Faith and the Common Good

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

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 Director, Geohazards and Geomorphology, SNC-Lavalin Inc.

Susanne Torriente, Assistant City Manager, City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Tina Neale, Water Program Analyst, British Columbia Ministry of Environment

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

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

Eva Friesen, President and CEO, Calgary Foundation

Katie Black, Director, Community & Neighbourhood Services, The City of Calgary

Scenario planning - Collaboration and empowerment

In order to effectively address flood risks, communities have to find ways to reconcile different perceptions of risk and attitudes towards uncertainty and have to clarify the best way forward despite a high degree of complexity. This session will use a scenario planning exercise to test proposed actions against a range of possible future in the hopes of finding “no regrets” options.


Brenna Atnikov and Monica Pohlman, Partners, Reos

3:00 – 3:25 COFFEE BREAK

3:25 – 5:00

Societal perception and tolerance of risk

Most local governments provide some level of flood protection to their citizens, but how much is enough? This session will explore the level of flood risk tolerated by communities, and how decisions are made regarding how much flood risk is acceptable. Factors involved in deciding what amount of protection to provide will be discussed including: legal considerations, financial and insurance implications, citizen engagement, and uncertainty.


Desmond Hartford, Principal Engineering Scientist, Office of the Director of Dam Safety, BC Hydro

Fiona Dercole, Section Manager, Public Safety, District of North Vancouver

Mark Groulx, Faculty, University of Northern British Columbia

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

Deborah Carlson, Staff Council, West Coast Environmental Law

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

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)

Tamsin Lyle, Principal, Ebbwater Consulting

Thomas James, Natural Resources Canada

Matt Osler, Project Engineer, City of Surrey

Resilience through placemaking and social innovation

A sense of place is crucial to creating livable cities and communities where people want to live. Thriving cities, regions, and towns include lively neighbourhoods and business districts, cultural and recreational attractions, protected natural areas, and deep pride in local character, products and food. This session will explore how we can enhance flood resilience through placemaking and social innovation.


Brenna Atnikov and Monica Pohlman, Partners, Reos


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

Day Two

Tuesday, September 29


7:30 – 8:30 Registration and Buffet Breakfast


8:30 – 9:15 Morning Plenary

9:30 – 11:00

World cafe – The partnerships challenge

Natural disasters can have serious impacts on social and economic systems. Join us for a world café to discuss how partnerships can help tackle human vulnerability, the deterioration of ecosystems, and material damage as a result of flooding and other natural disasters.


Graham Strickert, Research Associate, Global Institute for Water Security, University of Saskatchewan

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

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

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 Crouhan, OURANOS

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

Master classes will be open format sessions led by an expert in the areas of leadership and social innovation, entrepreneurship, and interdisciplinary collaboration. The focus and activities of each of the master classes will be determined by the specialties of the facilitators and will be announced as they become available.


Megan van Ham, Program Manager, Alberta WaterSMART

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

David Lapp, Practice Lead, Engineering and Public Policy, Engineers Canada

Geoff Masotti, Business Unit Leader and Christina Cholkan, Project Engineer, Cole Engineering Group Ltd.

Greg Solecki, Manager, Emergency Management, The City of Calgary

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

Master classes will be open format sessions led by an expert in the areas of leadership and social innovation, entrepreneurship, and interdisciplinary collaboration. The focus and activities of each of the master classes will be determined by the specialties of the facilitators and will be announced as they become available.


Scott Heckbert, Environment and Carbon Management, Alberta Innovates

1:00 – 2:00 LUNCH

2:00 – 3:30

Are we on the right track? Assessing risk to build 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 assessing risk and will provide an open learning forum for discussing the advantages and disadvantages of the variety of risk assessment tools available.


Christine Arthurs, Director, Recovery Operations, The City of Calgary

Ewa Jackson, Manager, ICLEI Canada

Matthew Lynch, Vice President, Global Partnerships & Initiatives, 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

David Waggonner, President, Waggonner and Ball Architects

Kristin Baja, Climate and Resilience Planner, City of Baltimore

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, Vice President, Science & Business Development, Archipelago Marine Research

Steve Litke, Senior Program Manager, Watersheds and Water Resources, Fraser Basin Council

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

Master classes will be open format sessions led by an expert in the areas of leadership and social innovation, entrepreneurship, and interdisciplinary collaboration. The focus and activities of each of the master classes will be determined by the specialities of the facilitators and will be announced as they become available.


Ann Wyganowski, Chief Practitioner and Vice President, HZX Business Continuity Planning



The session is open to the public will give community members the opportunity to see the construction of a 3D model of the Bow River, learn how real time modelling can help provide an understanding of what happens to a river during flood events, and show how this kind of modelling can help professionals engage with and learn from communities when developing flood resilience.

Click here to register.

Day Three

Wednesday, September 30


7:00 – 8:00 Buffet Breakfast


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.

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.