Of course everyone in Chilliwack wants flood protection, but the City’s claim that this one-kilometre stretch of Young Road is the most vulnerable and will protect the hospital plus 40,000 residents, etc. is quite a stretch of the imagination. (Dike work begins, as legal battle heats up, Chilliwack Progress, March 25.)
Raising Young Road one metre puts it about two metres above Young St. bridge. If you stand on Hope River Road and imagine the height of the water in Hope Slough at the level of your eyeballs, it isn’t hard to conclude that all of Fairfield Island and Chilliwack will be under water at that point. (You’ll be able to dock your boat along a nice new dry section of Young Road though.)
The City will be quick to point out that the long term plan is to build a flood gate for Hope Slough two metres higher than the Young St. bridge. Wonderful! Except now the water just goes around the flood gate at Berkeley Ave. and below and floods us out anyway over the Town Dike.
Again, the City will be quick to point out that we also need to upgrade the Town Dike as part of the long term plan. By the way, the Town Dike actually is the one that protects the hospital plus 40,000 residents, and has been flagged for decades as in need of upgrading.
So what’s the problem with starting at Young Road? Because it does absolutely nothing without completing the other two projects. The City is only doing it because it’s the quickest and easiest project to blow the allocated money on. They’ve been avoiding the difficult challenges of the Town Dike for decades, plus all the controversy involved in protecting (or not) the three affected First Nations bands.
I don’t think there are any easy answers right now but somebody with some brains needs to sit down with all the government levels and think about this a bit longer instead of just plowing ahead and wasting our money.