Home Business & Economy Infrastructure B.C. invests in flood resilience

B.C. invests in flood resilience

B.C. invests in flood resilience for Sqwá First Nation, Shxwhá:y Village, Chilliwack

Friday February 10, 2023 | CHILLIWACK, BC

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

The investment announced today is for a new dike. The Province’s investment of $5 million in riprap erosion control measures for shoreline stabilization will help ensure protection for people, businesses and infrastructure currently at risk.

Eby said the province and communities need to be “leaders in Emergency Management and response”. More than 600 kilometres of diking and 100 pump stations protect people from flooding in the Lower Mainland.

On the heels of a larger announcement:

In seeing that a $1 billion Growing Communities Fund rollout has been made to municipalities and regional districts this morning, he wants to “make sure they’re responding to the growth we’re seeing in our province, as people come to British Columbia and join us”, and says First Nations also need support.

The Premier said today that “we want to make sure they’re responding to the growth we’re seeing in our province, as people come to British Columbia and join us”. With a climate change impact as well, BC communities “need to be better prepared”, the Premier said in a media session.

About the dike:

People in Sqwá First Nation, Shxwhá:y Village and Chilliwack will be better protected from flooding with shoreline stabilization to complement a new dike project along the Fraser River.

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“People across British Columbia have seen first-hand the impacts of climate change,” said Premier Eby. “We have endured atmospheric rivers, a heat dome and record seasons of forest fires. In the Fraser Valley and elsewhere, we have seen the devastating impacts of flooding. The work we are funding today will protect people and help recognize Indigenous Peoples as true partners and leaders in emergency management.”

The erosion control also allows the new dike project to move forward after a study recommended them to better protect the communities. Engineering designs for the shoreline stabilization will begin immediately and construction will begin in 2024.

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The new dike project will consist of eight kilometres of new dikes, a new floodgate structure crossing the Hope Slough and a new drainage pump system. The new dike project is funded by $45 million from Infrastructure Canada’s Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, with contributions of $13 million from Indigenous Services Canada and $7 million from the City of Chilliwack.

“The climate crisis will continue to increase the risk of flooding here in British Columbia, and we’re committed to supporting First Nations and local governments in mitigating and preparing for flooding emergencies,” said Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness.

“This funding allows for immediate action to be taken to address erosion issues, allowing the planning and construction of the long-term dike project. We are grateful for the leadership provided by Sqwá First Nation, Shxwhá:y Village and the City of Chilliwack in this critical work,” said Ma.

Risk reduction:

The Province has invested a total of $147 million in flood risk reduction projects since 2017 with First Nations, local governments and other agencies. Most recently, the Province provided $23.4 million to 49 communities for disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation projects, including $150,000 for a drainage pump station upgrade design in Chilliwack. The British Columbia Flood Strategy, to be released this year, will strengthen flood risk governance, enhance flood preparedness, response and recovery, and further invest in flood resilience.

Today’s announcement:

Speakers in Chilliwack today were Premier David Eby; Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness; Chief Robert Gladstone, Shxwhá:y Village; Chief Lara Mussell, Sqwá First Nation; Dan Coulter, MLA for Chilliwack; and Kelli Paddon, MLA for Chilliwack-Kent, for an announcement.

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Island Social Trends emerged in mid-2020 from a preceding series of publications by founder/editor Mary P Brooke and published by Brookeline Publishing House Inc, covering news of the Vancouver Island region, BC and national issues through a socioeconomic lens.