Victoria, BC (June 2, 2016) – To better understand and mitigate the impacts of flooding along the Fraser River and southern coast as identified in Phase One of the Lower Mainland Flood Management Strategy, the Province of British Columbia is working collaboratively with all partners in the strategy and with the Fraser Basin Council by committing $1 million in funding to assist with implementation of Phase Two.
In July 2014, the Province provided $124,000 in support of Phase One of the Strategy, a program that brought together 43 government and private-sector partners. Phase One has built a better understanding of flood hazards and flood vulnerabilities, and identified a range of mitigation options that can be implemented at site-specific, community and regional levels to contribute to a comprehensive approach to flood management. The non-profit Fraser Basin Council is managing the program on behalf of the strategy partners.
Given the gravity of the Lower Mainland Flood Management Strategy’s Phase One findings and the potential flood-related impacts to the lives and livelihoods of British Columbians, this new $1 million in funding will inform appropriate next steps and future decisions on flood mitigation investments, as well as flood management policies and practices.
As part of the Phase One findings, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations released the Lower Mainland Dike Assessment Final Report, which assessed 74 dikes along the lower Fraser River. The report found that the dikes do not meet current provincial standards for crest height and geotechnical stability. These findings will help further inform the strategy and improve flood resiliency as work begins on a collaborative project to identify, map and prioritize dikes that most urgently need upgrading.
The Lower Mainland management strategy is a valuable service to bring people together to identify and solve issues to ultimately increase the sustainability of communities, watersheds, the environment and the economy.
The Province is working to better align provincial policies and programs to identify natural hazard risks and address mitigation priorities throughout British Columbia, and weighing options for a new disaster mitigation program that addresses these risks, as well as climate change impacts and risks. Current negotiations between Emergency Management BC and the federal government are underway to address funding for this enhanced natural-hazard mitigation program, which will complement and augment the works proposed in the Fraser Basin Council led flood mitigation strategy.
In the 2016 budget, the B.C. government announced $65 million to help keep communities safe, including $15 million for public-safety preparedness and $50 million for community hazard-mitigation projects, such as upgrades to dikes and flood protection.
Leading up to the 2016 budget, British Columbia has invested significantly in flood mitigation and prevention. Since 2008, the Province has invested in 156 projects worth $145 million total ($62 million provided provincially, $46 million federally and $37 million in funding from local authorities).
- The Fraser Basin Council (FBC) is a non-profit, charitable organization that works to advance sustainability in the Fraser Basin and throughout British Columbia. The FBC is a collaboration of four orders of government (federal, provincial, local and First Nations), along with those from the private sector and civil society.
- The FBC is managing a multi-phased Lower Mainland Regional Flood Management Strategy on behalf of government, industry and other partners.
“Emergency Management, preparedness and response is a shared responsibility between citizens and all levels of government, and the Province supports the shared responsibility and collaborative approach that the Fraser Basin Council has taken. The funding of programs like these will help to limit economic loss and social impacts in the event of widespread flooding by protecting health, property, infrastructure and the environment.”
– Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness Naomi Yamamoto
“The Province is working on collaborative and effective approaches to mitigate flood risks with the goal to help minimize river and coastal flooding and its consequences on the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley. We support efforts involving all levels of government because flooding does not stop at local boundaries. We all need to work together to do our part.”
– Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Operations Steve Thomson
“There’s an increasing risk of a major coastal or Fraser River Flood in the Lower Mainland, which would trigger widespread disruption and catastrophic loss estimated at $20 billion or more. The business case for improved flood mitigation has been made under the Lower Mainland Flood Management Strategy. It’s now time to move to a regional flood action plan. We’re happy that the Province of BC has announced a substantial commitment to Phase 2 of thesStrategy, and we look forward to all public and private partners renewing their own commitments and completing the action plan over the next two years.”
– Chair of the Fraser Basin Council Colin Hansen
For more information, visit the B.C. government’s Flood Protection and Planning website.
SOURCE: Transportation and Infrastructure , Government of British Columbia