A documentary film was partly shot at the Barrowtown Pump Station in Abbotsford in 2021. A new pump station could be built to help hold back flood waters in the future. (Submitted/Amanda Christmas)

A documentary film was partly shot at the Barrowtown Pump Station in Abbotsford in 2021. A new pump station could be built to help hold back flood waters in the future. (Submitted/Amanda Christmas)

New pump station and dikes proposed in latest Abbotsford flood mitigation option

Hybrid version of flood mitigation option came from community feedback; no cost estimate yet

Abbotsford city council is about to choose a flood risk reduction and mitigation plan, and feedback from the public has added a new preferred option.

In April, the city presented four draft options to council and the public on how to best move forward for flood protection, following the devastating floods in November.

Throughout April and May, Abbotsford residents, businesses, and neighbouring governments had the opportunity to learn more about each option and share their feedback through information sessions and surveys.

The top three priorities for Abbotsford participants were: Avoiding damage to buildings, barns and other infrastructure; preserving existing land for agriculture and food security; and maximizing opportunities for agriculture.

So, staff has now created a hybrid option they will give to council on June 13.

The new preferred hybrid option includes some of the key infrastructure enhancements and flood-mitigation concepts identified in Options 2, 3 and 4 in the original survey.

A press release from the City of Abbotsford explains the option, saying it would enhance the city’s existing flood protection system while maximizing agricultural land and food security, and minimizing the number of impacted properties.

It says that new dikes would be constructed through Sumas Prairie West, extending along the border, with Marshall Creek being separated from Nooksack overflow and Arnold area being protected.

This would mean that in a future Nooksack overflow event, water would be anticipated to be spread out through Sumas Prairie West, which would then flow through a narrow designated floodway to the Sumas and Fraser Rivers via a new Sumas River Pump Station.

Additional water storage and a new environmental area would be created by relocating the dyke along the north side of Highway 1. In addition to a new Sumas River Pump Station, this option would also include the construction of three pump stations in Sumas Prairie West, resiliency improvements to Barrowtown Pump Station, and replacing temporary works with permanent works along Sumas Dyke.

The original options varied in price from an estimated $209 million to nearly $2.797 billion. An estimated cost for this new hybrid option is expected to be available in the coming weeks.

The city press release states that the “intent of this option is to preserve agricultural land and minimize impacts on properties by spreading out water.”

“This option would meet minimum flood protection guidelines in B.C. and incorporate enhancements such as dyke setbacks and floodway creation and provides a high level of overall protection,” it continues. “The level of protection offered by this option to Sumas Prairie Lake Bottom is up to a one in 200-year event (with climate-change considerations).”

Interested residents can watch the Council presentation at 3 p.m. on June 13 live online at www.abbotsford.ca/watchcouncil; or attend the meeting in person to view the proceedings at the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium at 32315 South Fraser Way.

To learn more about the options and engagement on Abbotsford flood mitigation, visit: letstalkabbotsford.ca/abbotsfordfloodresponse.

READ MORE: Videos show force of floodwaters after dike breach on Sumas Prairie in November


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