Preparation for Chilliwack dike work begins on Young Road

Concerns about driveway impacts persist as city goes ahead with the project over objections and legal threats.

Crews have begun removing shrubs

The heavy equipment and flaggers in fluorescent vests were out in full force Monday preparing for the dike work on Young Road.

Young Road residents have hired legal counsel to try to get City of Chilliwack to hold off on the project, but equipment operators started taking out trees and shrubs nonetheless along the one-kilometre stretch.

The city’s position is that raising the Young Road dike by one metre is required for flood protection and to meet provincial standards.

But Young Road resident Peggy Fridriksdottir said city officials are not listening to the concerns of impacted property owners, in proceeding with the project over their objections.

They’ve so far sent a lawyer’s letter, put up signage, and sent several letters to the city from residents. The most recent is requesting cost estimates of driveway impacts that many of the residents are concerned about, and a meeting with residents to discuss it.

Residents are planning a meeting for Saturday to continue the fight.

Acting Mayor Sam Waddington warned in a press release Friday that even though it has been years since Chilliwack had a serious flood, they need to proceed with the work.

It’s been flagged by staff as the most vulnerable section, but the residents through a lawyer have questioned the efficacy of raising the dike in this location, saying it will mostly lower their property values, and not protect the neighbours adequately.

“We understand that some people feel this is affecting them adversely,” Acting Mayor Waddington told The Progress. “We received the same type of complaints when we widened Evans Road or built the roundabout.”

It’s the municipality’s job to act in the public’s best interests, however.

“The municipality is responsible for local flood control measures, and must act in the best interests of its residents in trying to prevent the tragic and devastating results that a flood can bring,” Waddington said in a release last Friday.

He advised residents to be a little patient as the dike construction project will be carried out into the summer.

“We’re only two days into it,” he said. “We will knock on those doors and have those conversations.”

All the costs, even of potential litigation, are built into the project estimates, or covered in some way.

In terms of alternate alignments, like extending the wing dike, they looked at it, and it’s too expensive with a pricetag of upwards of $50 million, he said.

“The alternate alignments have massive cost implications, and the local First Nations would have to spearhead the project for their own communities.”

But despite all that, it’s simpler even.

“I don’t think any of these are the issues. The real issue is the inconvenience of change in the neighbourhoods that the dike project will bring.”

But the work is required because the Young Road Dike section will protect 40,000 Chilliwack residents, the downtown core area, the hospital, water and sewer infrastructure, as well as BC Hydro, Telus, CN Railway and the Trans-Canada Highway.

The potential flood damage would be catastrophic, they’ve said. and the project is on the heels of years of work by the province to model hydrological conditions, and city officials are acting on the advice and recommendations of qualified professionals.

“We’re not new to this,” the acting mayor underlined. “We have to do this. If it has adverse effects, we pay them fairly and move on. Everyone who drives over it will thank us and our flood protection will be built to a high standard.”

The whole decision weighed on him.

“The question was do we risk inconveniencing a few to potentially save the neighbourhood from catastrophic flood? As local government, these are questions we have to weigh. And I don’t regret this decision.”

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/CHWKjourno

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BREAKING: Homicide investigators probe suspicious death on Highway 1 north of Yale

RCMP found a person with life-threatening injuries early Wednesday, who later died at the scene

VIDEO: Chilliwack teachers give rolling award ceremony to students

Four teams of staff travel the city to hand out awards in person

Family of dead Abbotsford football star urge changes to mental health policies in hospitals

Uko family disappointed in actions of Regina hospital, hosting public funeral service this weekend

Chilliwack dad rescues his two young daughters after truck plunges into Cultus Lake

“I used every single one of my angels that day,” said Dennis Saulnier

Mayor of Chilliwack says it’s time to have ‘uncomfortable conversations’ about racism

‘It’s past time we listen to those who haven’t been heard, and extend kindness to everyone,’ mayor says

VIDEO: Learning begins with new indigenous name for Chilliwack school

Stito:s La:lam Toti:lt will open in September 2022 for students from K-8

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

B.C. woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Horgan calls for national anti-racism program; will pitch idea to PM, premiers

Premier John Horgan said he’s horrified by the death of George Floyd in the United States

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

COVID claims 23rd Langley Lodge patient, making it the deadliest outbreak in B.C.

Coronavirus kills another senior at Langley care home, bringing B.C. total to 166

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Most Read