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

Affordable housing for seniors eyed for former Paramount site

City of Chilliwack to partner with Chilliwack Community Services

Recent online kitten abuse video raises serious social media questions

UBC and UFV profs weigh in on the subject of online sharing, shaming, and our digital landscape

UPDATED: Police call off search for body under Agassiz Rosedale Bridge

Swimmers reported discovering body two days ago

BIA disallows campaign booths at Chilliwack’s Party in the Park nights

Candidate calls it ‘suppressing the vote’ while Waddington invites all to his Mill St. office Friday

Head of Chilliwack RCMP sums up six months of policing the city

Supt. Bryon Massie addresses city council to talk about 15 new officers

Through your lens: Okanagan wildfires

Check out some of the captivating images and video from social media of the wildfires

World’s translators push back on forcing Trump interpreter to testify

Democrats had asked translator to testify about Trump’s lengthy conversation with Putin in Helsinki

No decision on B.C. school stabbing suspect’s mental fitness for trial

The BC Review Board could not determine whether Gabriel Klein, 21, is fit to stand trial

Canadian government threatens to retaliate if Trump imposes auto tariffs

U.S president had suggested that auto imports pose a national security risk to the U.S.

Wildfire evacuation order forces bride to search for new wedding venue

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards is under an order due to the Mount Eneas wildfire south of Peachland

UPDATED: ICBC fights back against claims that it’s ‘ripping off’ B.C. RV drivers

Canadian Taxpayers Federation is urging the provincial government to open up ICBC to competition

Summerland issues State of Local Emergency in response to wildfire

Two homes under evacuation order; evacuation alert remains in place as result of wildfire

A brother’s determination pushes B.C. cyclist to ride 2,500 km for heart care

#Cunnycan: Ryan Cunningham ‘pushing the envelope’ to support brother Craig’s foundation

B.C. hockey coach, nurse was killed in case of mistaken identity, police say

In Surrey, Paul Bennett’s wife makes a tearful plea for help in finding her husband’s killer

Most Read