Fort McMurray reconstruction: The challenges ahead


There are massive and challenging decisions to be made about Fort Mc Murray’s reconstruction after wildfires destroyed much of the city and resulted in the evacuation of its population of 85,000 in early May. Published reports indicate that insurance estimate damages will take the cost of rebuilding to $9 billion or more.

Sandeep Agrawal, director of the urban and regional planning program at the University of Alberta, told the Globe and Mail that officials will have to take a careful look at how it was possible for the fire to cause such extensive damage to a major city, and examine ways of ensuring it won’t happen again. He describes it as “risk based planning,” and it could involve imposing restrictions on development 22 – May-June 2016 — The Canadian Design and Construction Report near forested areas, such as the use of covenants with property owners to mitigate the threat of fires.

“They need to think about urban planning and the ways they can minimize the impact of extreme events such as this,” Agrawal said. “One of the main objectives should be to reduce threats associated with the unintended risks of development.”


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