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Province Drops $10M For Abbotsford Flood Protection

Posted on March 23, 2017

Simon Gibson, MLA for Abbotsford-Mission, on behalf of Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness Naomi Yamamoto,announced $10 million in flood protection funding for the City of Abbotsford as part of the Province’s major investment in emergency preparedness and public safety.

The funds are part of over $80 million in emergency preparedness funding announced by the Province on March 15.

In order to prevent further erosion to the Fraser River’s banks and the dikes protecting the Matsqui floodplain in Abbotsford, the Province of British Columbia is investing $10 million in the design and implementation of a long-term solution.

The City of Abbotsford is proposing a system of spurs along the riverbank, but other options are also still being considered. The City of Abbotsford and the Province will engage with First Nations, and in particular the Sumas First Nation, to develop a long term strategy to significantly reduce the risk of dike failure, while protecting fish habitat and the traditional fishery of the Sumas First Nation on this stretch of the Fraser River.

On March 15, the Province announced over $80 million in funding for flood protection and prevention, seismic safety, local government emergency preparedness, search and rescue, and fire prevention. Some of the projects which will better protect the citizens of the Fraser Valley include:

$10.5-million investment in infrastructure funding for the Fraser Valley Regional District:

  • $6 million to upgrade the system of dikes at Nicomen Island, located on the Fraser River northeast of Abbotsford, which are in many areas too steep or too low and could pose a hazard in a major flooding event. This funding will widen the dikes to increase stability, and in turn protect agricultural lands and a Lakahahmen First Nation community.
  • The remaining $4.5 million will be allocated to the existing pumping system infrastructure which supports these dikes. The pumping system upgrades will increase the functionality of the pumps to better cope with flooding, and will allow all pumps in the system to function concurrently.

$2.13-million investment 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 this 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. This information will be vital in developing seismic design guidelines for diking infrastructure.
  • $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.

$100,000 in Provincial Emergency Program Air (PEP Air) funding:

  • Currently, PEP Air relies on verbal position updates and manual maps to estimate aircraft positions and locations of interest when searching for overdue or downed aircraft, or in supporting ground search and rescue teams. This funding will enable PEP Air to purchase flight tracking and mission management tools and equipment to improve operational safety and effectiveness.

$630,000 in fire prevention funding for the Fire Chiefs Association of British Columbia:

  • This funding will facilitate a fire prevention program for at-risk, single family homes, based on a University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) study. The program will focus on communities identified in the UFV study. It is anticipated that local fire departments will provide voluntary fire safety inspections for the identified at-risk homes, including the installation of up to two smoke detectors.

Simon Gibson, MLA for Abbotsford-Mission –

“Dotted across the landscape of B.C. are waterways that add to the province’s natural beauty, but can also present real risks when the banks are brimming or spilling flood waters. Today’s announcement provides support for critical flood protection measures that help ensure local capacity for public safety and the protection of businesses and industry. Through the support to our region, the Province is significantly reducing the flood risk for Abbotsford and Mission and helping to protect residents living in the area.”

Michael de Jong, MLA for Abbotsford West –

“By working as partners and providing direct support to communities and agencies that help prepare and respond to emergencies, we are preventing the interruption and significant costs that come from flooding damage to homes, businesses and communities. These projects provide safety for the public and help protect the businesses and industries that provide jobs and significant economic benefits for all British Columbians. By providing support we are protecting our communities and delivering on our commitment to strengthening and providing greater safety for the people of British Columbia.”

Darryl Plecas, MLA for Abbotsford South –

“Public safety is a paramount principle of this government and today’s announcement demonstrates our continued commitment to finding ways to help limit our citizen’s suffering when exposed to emergencies and disasters. We are committed to working collaboratively to improve safety and well-being for all British Columbians as we continue to improve on ensuring public safety and disaster preparedness.”

Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness –

“The over $80 million in investments in community emergency preparedness will help us better withstand floods, fires, or earthquakes that could impact our province. Emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility that begins in every home, in every business and across all levels of government. This funding is another of many provincial investments and initiatives to help keep British Columbians safe.”

Bill Adams, Insurance Bureau of Canada, vice-president, Western and Pacific –

“Disasters can have lasting physical and financial impacts on Canadian communities. That is why the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) and 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 this important funding announcement which will help municipalities across British Columbia better prepare for disasters. As a partner in emergency preparedness, IBC will continue to work with all stakeholders to make our cities and towns more resilient in the face of increasingly frequent and severe natural disasters.”

Quick Facts

Over $60 million in flood mitigation investments in a number of communities is represented in the March 15 emergency preparedness funding announcement. Since 2008, the Province has committed $182.7 million towards flood mitigation projects in over 200 communities in B.C.

Source: FVN

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