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Chilliwack pins hopes for erosion mitigation money on fresh funding application

‘We all know that Carey Point continues to present challenges with each freshet,’ city councillor said
Aerial shot of Carey Point in Chilliwack along the Fraser River. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress file)

Erosion has chipped away at Carey Point at the north end of Chilliwack for decades, driven by major shifts in the Fraser River.

City council is pinning fresh hopes for assistance from senior levels of government on an application approved last week, for the “Carey Point Rock Armouring project” estimated to cost $5.6 million.

Coun. Chris Kloot thanked staff for identifying ‘The Adaptation, Resilience & Disaster Mitigation’ program as a potential funding source. It is a joint Emergency Management BC and Infrastructure Canada effort to fund flood mitigation projects, as well as erosion mitigation, of up to $10 million.

“We all know that Carey Point continues to present challenges with each freshet,” Kloot said at the Jan. 19 council meeting. “Acres and acres have disappeared and with the ongoing threat to diking infrastructure, I am hoping this (application) will be successful.”

In the mid-1970s the local rip rap project aimed at erosion mitigation that was undertaken as part of the provincial Fraser River flood control effort, which reportedly failed shortly after construction. Since then, the river bank at Carey Point has eroded between 160 metres and 230 metres.

“The main flow of the Fraser River is on the north side of Minto Island right now; but there is concern that more flow could start to enter Minto Channel if the erosion at Carey Point continues unabated,” according to the staff report.

Increased flow velocities in Minto Channel could increase bank erosion in spots where the East Dike is close to the river bank.

The report notes that Northwest Hydraulic Consultants (NHC) conducted an engineering study in 2019, and Kerr Wood Leidal (KWL) carried out a subsequent review of Carey Point erosion in 2020.

“Based on these studies, the recommended approach to reducing erosion in the Carey Point/Minto Channel area would involve placing rock armouring at two spurs.”

The armouring of the bank at Carey Point would create “two hardened points” that would reduce the risk of “bank retreat” continuing toward Minto Channel and will also offer some erosion protection to agricultural land in the vicinity of Carey Point.

A technical memo from KWL outlines the project location, proposed work, and estimated cost of $5.6 million was attached to the staff report.

The earliest the work can be carried out, should the application be successful, is in the winter fisheries work window, from January to March 2022.

The Adaptation, Resilience & Disaster Mitigation funding program requires project completion by Dec. 31, 2021, so the funding application from Chilliwack included a request for a three-month extension.

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Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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