Canada, BC Partner to Provide Chilliwack Flood Mitigation

Chilliwack, British Columbia, December 18, 2012 – The governments of Canada and British Columbia will partner to support upgrades to Chilliwack's East Dike that will increase flood protection to more than 40,000 people residing in the floodplain.

These upgrades will help increase protection for critical infrastructure like rail lines, the TransCanada Highway, oil and gas infrastructure, utilities, hospital and care facilities, and a wastewater treatment plant. The initiative is part of a comprehensive flood protection plan protecting Chilliwack and the surrounding area.

Dike upgrades will be carried out from Wing Dike to Hope River and from Orchard Slough to McDonald Road. Project designs will be submitted next year with construction anticipated to begin in 2014/15.

The Flood Protection Program (FPP) is an equal cost sharing initiative. Federal and provincial governments provide up to two-thirds of the funding for eligible project costs, with local governments and diking authorities covering the remainder of funding. These investments are being delivered through the Provincial-Territorial Base Fund.

Through the Provincial-Territorial Base Fund, the governments of Canada and British Columbia are jointly investing $1.56 million toward the initiative. The City of Chilliwack will contribute an additional $780,000. The total eligible cost for this project is $2.34 million.

Since 2006, the Government of Canada has made unprecedented investments in public infrastructure. Through the Gas Tax Fund alone, municipalities across the country have received over $10 billion in transfers for local infrastructure priorities. This Fund is part of Canada's Economic Action Plan – a plan to help create good jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. Over the next two years, the Government of Canada will spend nearly $12 billion across its programs to strengthen provincial, territorial and municipal infrastructure through existing initiatives.

Quotes:

Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP Mark Strahl:
"The Government of Canada is pleased to support upgrades to Chilliwack's east dike, which will significantly reduce the flood risk in Chilliwack and help protect residents living in the floodplain. We are committed to investing in infrastructure projects that improve community safety, promote economic growth and create local jobs."

Minister of Justice and Attorney General Shirley Bond:
"Projects like this provide critical flood protection measures that help ensure local capacity for public safety and the protection of businesses and industry. Through our ongoing partnerships with all levels of government, we are delivering on our commitment to strengthen communities like Chilliwack and ultimately, contribute to the resiliency of British Columbians."

Chilliwack MLA John Les:
"Dotted across the landscape of BC are waterways that add to the province's natural beauty, but for many communities like Chilliwack that reside along their shores, the rivers can present real risks when the banks are brimming or spilling flood waters. The City of Chilliwack has done a commendable job of developing a comprehensive flood protection strategy to help proactively manage the flood threat and help ensure Chilliwack remains a safe place to live."

Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz:
"This provides much-needed funding for infrastructure in the City's long term program to upgrade our diking system to meet provincial standards. We are delighted to be able to partner with senior levels of government to move forward with these improvements. This will offer additional protection for downtown Chilliwack as well as many rural areas."

Quick Facts:

  • The Flood Protection Program represents the most significant province-wide investment dedicated to flood mitigation in the last two decades.
  • The FPP was established in 2007/08 to administer the BC government's commitment to provide $100 million in flood mitigation funding over 10 years.
  • In January 2012, $36 million in joint federal-provincial funding was announced for 22 flood mitigation projects in 20 communities across BC; most of these projects are underway.
  • The first year of the FPP (2007/08) was funded solely by the province. In the 2008/09 fiscal year, the province and federal government identified funding for flood protection as a priority for funding under the Building Canada Plan.
  • Local government cost sharing was introduced in the 2009/10 fiscal year. This arrangement was a joint decision by the provincial and federal governments to allocate limited funding to as many projects as possible.
  • Established scientific data provides compelling evidence to support mitigation investment. The United States National Institute of Building Sciences indicates a cost benefit-cost ratio of $4:1 while Australia reports a $3:1 (AU) ratio, the United Kingdom £5:1 and the World Bank $10:1.

Important Links:

Contact:

Geneviève Sicard
Office of the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
613-991-0700

Ministry of Justice
Government Communications and Public Engagement
250-356-6961

Infrastructure Canada
613-960-9251
1-877-250-7154 (toll free)

Mayor Sharon Gaetz
City of Chilliwack
604-793-2900