Wednesday December 21, 2011

 

City Hall News

Provincial Funding Not There

Chilliwack council deciding on right course of action for Carey Point flood control

Voice Staff/File photos

 

ll rivers love to straighten out. The voluminous Fraser River wrote the book on that rule and Carey Point is simply in the river’s way.

A home off Ballam Rd was flooded last year during the freshet.

 

Last spring, during freshet season, the bank was breached, flooding homes and properties situated outside the dyke system. At the time, a Ballam Rd. landowner lost approximately 10 acres of blueberry plants due to oxygen deprivation after that field flooded.

 

The erosion happens because the Carey Point isthmus protrudes into the main channel and water slams headlong into it. Currents cause the water to churn back on itself and that action hollows out the river bottom, creating what’s known as a “scour hole”.

In her presentation to council, Tara Friesen, Assistant Manager of Environmental Services for the City Engineering Department said that in 1970 the hole was 30-feet deep and now it’s size is somewhere around 80-100m (260-330’) deep.

She also said that the City expects freshet flooding to happen either every year, or every other year.

Freisen presented council with three options which staff recommended they consider;

Option #1 – Build an access road closer to the river but would still excluding much land and add a check dam at Orchard Slough. This would cost $1.3-million. A check dam would cost $75,000.00. This option would have a shelf-life of 15-25 years.

Option #2 – Build an access road further back and add a check dam at Orchard Slough at a cost of about $1.5-million. This option would have a shelf-life of 15-25 years.

Option #3 – This is the most costly option and entails building an access road that would act like a dyke directly alongside the riverbank and connect it with the existing dyke system, plus, crews would shore up the bank and fill the scour hole with riprap. This project would cost the City $5.1 million and would protect homes and land currently outside the dyke. Annual maintenance costs are estimated to be $100,000 to $150,000. According to Friesen, the project would require a colossal 50,000 cubic meters of clean rocks which translates to about 7,000 truckloads. This project would have a shelf-life of 45-75 years.

Residents effected by the flooding, consulted with city officials and selected Option #1 because that plan will completely protect their homes and land while the other plans offered minimal protection.

Then there is the question of funding and Friesen said there is no provincial money for flood damage outside the dyke system in this case but there may be some money available for work to repair dwellings.

According to a city memo, provincial funding would not be made available for farmland outside a protected dike area.

It also stated that "funding would only be supported if it could be demonstrated that there was an imminent threat to the East Dyke as a result of the 2011 Fraser River Spring Freshet. If funding were offered it would be conditional upon the City acquiring all necessary legal accesses and the City would be expected to assume responsibility for the operation and maintenance of any works, and, there is also a provincial expectation that project costs would be shared with possible local contributions of 20% - 33%”.

Related story

Ballam On The Brink here.

© Copyright (c) 2011 The Valley Voice