Canadian Underwriter

B.C. announces more than $8 million in flood protection in latest round of investments

April 3, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter

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British Columbia’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced on Friday funding for two flood protection projects in the province.

The first is a $4.17 million investment to the District of Kent to expand and upgrade the Hammersley Pump Station, which is located approximately six kilometres west of Agassiz and conveys run-off from the Mountain Slough watershed. The project will help better protect local agricultural lands and nearby Federal Correctional Centre infrastructure, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said in a statement.

“Our government recognizes the value of investing in emergency preparedness, both as a means of creating stronger communities as well as helping build the foundation for continued economic growth,” said Laurie Throness, MLA for Chilliwack-Hope, in the statement. “Today’s announcement helps us foster a safer, more prosperous region that is resilient to the risks and threats of flooding, as well shoring-up the needed support for structural assessments and upgrades to infrastructure like dikes, which play a crucial role in our regional landscape.”

The second investment of $4.2 million through the BC Disaster Mitigation Program will support the McGillivray Pump Station, “increasing the pumping capacity to meet the standard to protect against a one-in-100-year rainfall event,” the ministry reported in a separate statement. The investment will benefit the area bounded by the dikes of the Fraser River along the Trans-Canada Highway to the north, Vedder River dikes to the south, Lickman Road to the east and Vedder Canal dikes to the west, protecting a 30-square-kilometre floodplain area.

“The investment made in the McGillivray Pump Station will go a long way in protecting Chilliwack from the risk of floods,” said John Martin, MLA for Chilliwack, in the statement. “This investment, alongside the funds provided to the Fraser Basin Council to get a better understanding of flood and seismic risk throughout the Fraser Valley, will ensure that we are better informed and can be better prepared in the future. The investments made in communities will also provide Chilliwack an opportunity to move forward on other projects to protect against floods.”

Related: B.C. government invests over $10.5 million in Fraser Valley flood mitigation

To better understand and mitigate flooding hazards along the Fraser River and southern coast, the province also invested $2.13 million in three Fraser Basin Council (FBC) projects:

  • $1 million will support the FBC in conducting an inventory and engineering assessment of all orphan or unmanaged dikes in British Columbia. This assessment will evaluate the structural conditions of the dikes and determine the cost to upgrade the dikes to provincial standard and to acquire at-risk properties. The goal of the project is to assess the risks to local communities and to help facilitate the transfer of diking authority to local governments;
  • $800,000 will go toward a seismic assessment of existing Lower Mainland dikes to withstand seismic events, which will provide vital information about risks and vulnerabilities in those communities. This funding will allow for the field testing of almost 50 structures. The information will provide vital information toward developing seismic design guidelines for diking infrastructure; and
  • $330,000 will support the cross-sectional sonar survey of the Fraser River bottom to assist the FBC in its proposed development of flood-hazard analysis tools and modelling of the floodplain. This data will also assist in upgrades to the current river model used for freshet forecasting, to provide more accurate information to the public and stakeholders.

Bill Adams, vice president, Western & Pacific, with the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), said that Canada’s property and casualty insurers are “committed to working with all levels of government to help make our country safer, stronger and more resilient. IBC applauds [these] important funding announcement[s], which will help municipalities across British Columbia better prepare for disasters.”

All of the investments are part of the province’s March 15 announcement of $80 million for emergency preparedness and public safety, which includes more than $60 million in flood mitigation investments. Since 2008, the province has committed $182.7 million towards flood mitigation projects in over 200 communities in B.C.

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