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

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

 

Just Posted

BC Wildfire Service (Black Press Media files)
Fire at Eleven Mile Creek near Hope classified as out of control

It’s a small blaze so far at 20 hectares, but firefighters don’t yet have a handle on it

A drone’s-eye view of the Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge. (Screenshot/Shutter Speed Network)
Kent Council advocates for a wider Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge

Council voted unanimously to send letter of concern to transportation ministry

Tourism Abbotsford has launched the ‘Let’s Go Do Something’ campaign to encourage visitors to check out all Abbotsford has to offer. (Tourism Abbotsford photo)
Tourism Abbotsford launches ‘Let’s Go Do Something’ campaign

Visitors encouraged to check out all Abbotsford has to offer this summer

Emil Anderson Maintenance is mowing the shoulder along Lougheed Highway in Agassiz, asking motorists to use extra caution around slow-moving vehicles on Tuesday and Wednesday. (Graphic/Emil Anderson Maintenance)
TRAFFIC: Slow-moving mowers working on Highway 7 shoulders in Agassiz on Tuesday, Wednesday

Mowing takes place Tues., Weds. between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Temperature records were broken for June 21, 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)
Record-breaking heat shimmered across Fraser Valley for second day

Tuesday should be a bit cooler says forecast from Environment Canada

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki and Minister of Housing David Eby have been battling over the Victory Church shelter and BC Housing projects in the city. (File photos)
Penticton heads to court over homeless shelter as BC Housing audit begins

The city was not satisfied with the response from Minister David Eby regarding the ongoing situation

People enjoy the sun at Woodbine Beach on June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
BC Hydro assures customers it has ‘more than enough’ power to weather the heatwave

Despite an increase of pressure on the Western grid, blackouts are not expected like in some U.S. states

Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pilots say no reason to continue quarantines for vaccinated international travellers

Prime minister says Canada still trying to limit number of incoming tourists

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police closed off 16th Avenue between 232nd and 240th streets in Aldergrove Saturday night at the site of a reported motor vehicle accident. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Survivors of rollover crash thank Good Samaritans for coming to their aid

Collision flipped vehicle into a 10-foot ditch on 16th Avenue in Langley

Val Litwin is the latest candidate to declare his bid for the B.C. Liberal leadership. (Litwin campaign video)
Political newcomer joins contest for B.C. Liberal leadership

Val Litwin a former B.C. Chamber of Commerce CEO

Golden Ears Mountains, captured in May 2021. (Black Press Media files)
2nd year of day passes required for entry into 5 provincial parks launches in B.C.

Pilot program seeks to protect the environment by addressing visitor surges amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Lincoln Mckoen. (YouTube)
Anglican bishop of the central Interior resigns over sexual misconduct allegations

Lincoln Mckoen was elected as a bishop of the Territory of the People region last year

Most Read