$10M allocated to flood mitigation projects in Fraser River communities.

CHILLIWACK, BC – Enhancing community resilience and fortifying defenses against severe weather events, $10 million is being directed towards two crucial flood mitigation projects on the northern banks of the Fraser River.

The funding for these endeavors has been allocated by the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food under the Fraser Valley Flood Mitigation Program, administered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC.

In the wake of the impactful atmospheric river occurrences in the Fraser Valley in 2021, the joint efforts of Leq’á:mel First Nation, Fraser Valley Regional District, and Dewdney Area Improvement District within the Hatzic Watershed Stewardship Team (HWST) have laid the groundwork for innovative solutions to tackle flood risks in the area. The HWST also includes the City of Mission and various provincial ministries.

Minister of Agriculture and Food, Pam Alexis, stated, “The key to emergency preparedness is collaboration, and these projects exemplify the dedication of all individuals and communities involved in fortifying our province. The initiatives along the river will lead to safer communities, enhanced food security in agricultural areas, and serve as a model of what can be accomplished through collective effort. I eagerly anticipate the completion of these projects and look forward to assisting more communities in preparing for floods in the upcoming year.”

The aftermath of the 2021 events revealed vulnerabilities to extreme weather events, annual freshets, and climate change, posing risks to agricultural assets along the Fraser River.

These two projects not only seek to mitigate flood risks but also contribute to ecological benefits, supporting efforts to preserve riparian habitats and promoting a more cooperative approach with Leq’á:mel First Nation based on respect for Leq’á:mel’s Indigenous rights and title.

Chief Councillor Alice Thompson of Leq’á:mel expressed gratitude for the funding provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, stating, “The news of funding from the Ministry of Agriculture is a welcome development for our community. For years, flood management in our Territory has occurred without our knowledge, consent, or involvement. These projects mark the beginning of a new collaborative planning approach centered on acknowledging our Indigenous Rights. The initiatives on Athey Road and in the Hatzic valley affirm our role in advancing Indigenous-led watershed governance and will help secure a more climate-resilient future for all residents in our Territory.”

Athey Road Bank Stabilization Project

Priced at $5 million, the Athey Road Bank Stabilization Project focuses on a shoreline section near Athey Road on the eastern side of Nicomen Island. With 35 kilometers of dikes and five pump stations safeguarding Nicomen Island from Fraser River flooding, this endeavor is crucial in halting ongoing erosion that has worsened in recent years. Bank stabilization efforts will bolster dike integrity and shield residents, including Leq’á:mel reserve lands and village sites.

Hatzic Pump Station & Electrical Kiosk Upgrades

This $5 million project encompasses the formulation of the Hatzic Flood Mitigation and Watershed Master Plan, alongside a capital project to upgrade the Pump Station and Electrical Kiosks in the Hatzic Slough.

Managed by the Dewdney Area Improvement District, these enhancements aim to elevate the electrical kiosk to a flood-resistant level. An additional pump station utilizing fish-friendly technology will enhance water transmission capacity.

The $10 million commitment from the Province of British Columbia underscores a proactive stance in building resilience and safeguarding communities against climate-related challenges.

These flood mitigation projects serve as a testament to the dedication of all parties involved, working collectively towards sustainable protection of communities along the northern banks of the Fraser River.

Source :Fraser Valley Regional District

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