UBCM delegates approved of the Chilliwack idea of approaching flood control on a regional basis.

Regional approach to flood prevention approved at convention

Chilliwack reps were thrilled when their regional idea was endorsed on the floor of the UBCM convention on Friday

Chilliwack’s idea to tackle flood management from a regional point of view was widely endorsed on the floor of the Union of B.C. Municipalities’ convention Friday.

The idea hit the convention floor with the clear goal of establishing a regional and integrated approach to flood management in B.C. and it passed unanimously.

“We are thrilled at the support our resolution received at UBCM and hope to work with the province on a regional program,” said Mayor Sharon Gaetz.

The vote shows there is “a need and desire of many municipalities to receive funding from the province,” she said, while working in synch on a flood management program.

There is recognition that no single municipality could take on the heavy burden alone.

“If it floods in Chilliwack, the economic impact will be felt around the province,” Coun. Jason Lum was quoted in the Progress as saying in May. “We’re talking impacts and damages in the order of billions.”

The idea to go regional took flight, and a slightly amended version was passed at the Lower Mainland Local Government Association, before hitting the floor of the 2013 UBCM Convention last week.

The way the funding model currently works has B.C. communities vying for a portion of the tiny, over-subscribed infrastructure budget.

“This shows that local governments stand willing to work together on common issues around flooding and river management,” Lum said last spring after it passed at the LMLGA. “We believe it will strengthen the case for more senior government funding.”

It’s an approach that just makes sense, said the mayor.

“When it floods, the water doesn’t stop at municipal boundaries, making a regional integrated approach to flood management extremely important,” said Mayor Gaetz.

Lum was pleased by the unanimity of the vote, and the fact that no one sought any amendments.

“I think it speaks to the importance of the resolution, and to the importance of municipalities working together on the one of the biggest issues facing the province, which is flood prevention,” he added.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Twitter.com/chwkjourno

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