The pre-freshet Fraser River in Chilliwack in April 2018. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Major Fraser River flood could cause $30 billion in economic impact

Municipalities from Hope to Richmond could be affected

Current diking infrastructure along the Fraser River from Hope to Richmond does not have what it takes to stop a major flooding event if and when it comes.

And the Fraser Basin Council estimates in a 2016 study the economic impacts of a major flooding event in the Lower Mainland could be $20 to $30 billion.

• READ MORE: Valley dikes too low to withstand major Fraser River flood

“There are likely to be larger and more frequent Fraser River and coastal floods in the future because of sea level rise and other projected impacts of climate change – and current diking infrastructure is inadequate to withstand a major flood,” said Steve Litke, a senior program manager with the Fraser Basin Council. “It’s timely for leaders to look at options for more robust mitigation works as well as more effective land use strategies for floodplain areas, and to come together on a plan that meets priorities across the region.”

Stephen Bruyneel, executive director of the Fraser River Discovery Centre (FRDC), said the catastrophic economic impacts from a major flood could be four to five times that of Alberta’s devastating floods in 2013.

The FRDC is hosting a public talk in New Westminster on May 31 featuring Steve Litke as guest speaker who will discuss the impacts of a major flood and steps in the development of a long-term flood strategy for the region. The event is part of the Fraser River Dialogue series.

The Lower Mainland Flood Management Strategy (LFFMS) launched in 2014 to reduce flood risk along the lower Fraser River and the coast.

Participants include the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia, Lower Mainland local governments, First Nations and several non-governmental and academic entities in the region. The Fraser Basin Council serves as program manager and facilitator.

• READ MORE: More than $1 billion in Fraser Valley agriculture at risk from flooding

Phase 1 of the LFFMS included an analysis of Lower Mainland flood scenarios, a regional assessment of flood vulnerabilities, and a review of current flood mitigation works and practices in the region.

It showed the critical importance of a regional strategy and a major investment in flood mitigation to avoid costs associated with of a major flood event. Phase 2 is underway and expected to conclude in 2019.

The Fraser River Dialogue series was launched by the FRDC in 2017 as a forum for public education and discussion on important issues related to the living, working Fraser River. Its goals are to engage interested parties: from a fact-based, triple-bottom line perspective that is apolitical and non-ideological; through an approach to dialogue and information exchange that is open and positive; and in an environment that is respectful and safe for all questions, comments and opinions.

Tickets to the May 31 event are $25 and can be purchased at www.fraserriverdiscovery.org/FRD.

 

Residents evacuate over sandbags from Carey Point in Chilliwack during the 2012 high waters. (Paul Henderson file)

Sandbags at Carey Point in Chilliwack during the 2012 high waters. (Paul Henderson file)

Just Posted

Kent to weigh in on ride-sharing policies

The district will be submitting comments to the province on what ride sharing should look like

Chilliwack prolific offender wanted yet again

B.C.-wide warrant issued for David Allen Geoghegan

One man, two women charged with stolen pickup downtown Chilliwack

None of the three have criminal history in B.C.

Enrolment, EA increases make for no surprises in updated school district budget

The budget reflects changes that were made after recieving provincial funds in December

Agassiz Community Gardens hoping to find new home at old McCaffrey school

The society has been looking for a new location since its previous gardens were sold in October

VIDEO: U.S. Congress to probe whether Trump told lawyer Cohen to lie

At issue is a BuzzFeed News report that about negotiations over a Moscow real estate project

Explosion sends B.C. firefighter to hospital

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Book a ride on a driverless shuttle in Surrey or Vancouver

Automated vehicle demos are being offered, as the two cities plan pilot projects with the shuttles

Heavy snowfall expected on the Coquihalla

Snowfall warning in effect for the Coquihalla Highway, from Hope to Merritt

Ex-Mountie investigating ‘Surrey six’ murders pleads guilty to obstruction

Derek Brassington entered his plea in B.C. Supreme Court on Friday

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Arrest made after historic B.C. church hit by arson

The fire at the 150-year-old Murray United Church in Merritt was considered a possible hate crime

Missing man from Crowsnest Pass could be in Lower Mainland

58-year-old Stuart David Duff was last seen on Jan. 6, 2019.

B.C. dangerous offender in court for violating no-contact order, sends letter to victim

Wayne Belleville was shocked to see a letter addressed to him from his shooter, Ronald Teneycke

Most Read