Alouette river just keeps flowing along

Doing what it’s always done: study

A long-awaited study on flooding in the Alouette Valley suggests digging out the riverbed of the North Alouette at 224th Street and creating a policy to ensure flooding won’t worsen if farmland elevation is raised or dikes are built.

But both of those steps have already been taken, says local farmer Ken Knechtel.

“There’s already those requirements, you can’t hurt your neighbour,” by increasing the flooding risk when working the land, he said Tuesday.

“We’ll have to wait see where it goes from here.”

And Maple Ridge has already decided to excavate the North Alouette at the 224th Street crossing, to remove silt and deepen the channel and reduce flooding risk.

That’s confirmed in a staff report introducing the summary of the North Alouette and South Alouette Rivers Assessment and Flood Plain Analysis.

The study concludes the river is doing what it’s done for the past century, flooding periodically and causing damage to properties nearby.

It also concludes, the river flows aren’t worsening, despite an historic high-water flow in March 2007, when an estimated 245 cubic metres rushed down the North Alouette River. That may have been caused by a blockage in the stream nearby suddenly giving way, a footnote adds.

The report also notes that other high flows, ranging from 118 cubic metres per second to 162 m3/s, took place on 10 occasions over the past 30 years.

Northwest engineer Tamsin Lyle told council that there are four ways in which the Alouette system can flood: through heavy rainfall, by backflow from a flooding Fraser River, through erosion or sedimentation of the river channel, and from log jams or blockages.

Coun. Craig Speirs said it’s obvious, “the stream bed is rising.

“We need to know what we can do and what we can’t do.”

Coun. Linda King questioned why any development is even allowed in the flood plain, saying the cost is too much for taxpayers.

“We should not be building there at all because we’re just going to create problems for people and ourselves.”

But Coun. Cheryl Ashlie said most people in the Alouette Valley are worried about the effect of raising farmland elevations and how that affects others in the floodplain and wanted that as a priority. That’s been one of the most commonly raised issues during her first term on council, she added.

Council has been waiting a long time for the report, added Coun. Mike Morden. “We need to get the ball rolling a little bit.” Funding for the study was approved in 2007.

He asked if staff can address the role of the Agricultural Land Commission in managing the floodplain.

The study points out that the North Alouette is more unstable than the South Alouette, whose flow is regulated by the Alouette dam.

It also suggests that connecting the two rivers by building a channel could also help reduce flood risk, but that could be expensive and have some environmental costs.

It suggests that the district only allow any new flood protection measures provided they don’t increase the overall flooding risk in the area.

“A no-net adverse impact flood level policy should be implemented for future developments on the flood plain.”

Any solutions will also require a multi-disciplinary approach, says the staff’s covering report. Those would be implemented over several years.

“That’s been flooding down there for centuries,” said Mayor Ernie Daykin.

“We haven’t issued any fill permits in that area in the last couple of years.”

Maple Ridge engineer Andrew Wood said staff will review the report and meet with the Alouette River task force.

Just Posted

CubicFarms have announced the addition of Janet Wood to its board of directors. (Special to The News)
Pitt Meadows/ Langley grow tech business names new member to board of directors

Janet Wood will join the agricultural firm after a brief stint as pres and CEO of Science World

Pitt Meadows residents can take part in a free online emergency preparedness presentation on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. Sign up in advance. (Pitt Meadows graphic)
Pitt Meadows presentation helps residents prep for emergencies

People can sign up in advance for the Tuesday event

Pitt Meadows fire chief Mike Larsson said a quick-thinking neighbour helped keep a utility trailer fire from causing serious damage to a residence (Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News file)
Neighbour with garden hose helped save Pitt Meadows home

Helped to prevent fire in trailer from spreading to nearby house

Kanaka Creek Regional Park. (Metro Vancouver/Special to The News)
Visiting parks is good for your health, says UBC study

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows many parks provide opportunities

A 49-year-old man from Coquitlam died after he was hit by a dump truck near Airport Way and Harris Road on Saturday, May 15. (Curtis Kreklau/South Fraser News Services)
VIDEO: Pedestrian dies after being hit by dump truck in Pitt Meadows Saturday afternoon

Man was walking his bicycle across the road near Airport Way and Harris Road

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

B.C. Wildfire Services shows a fire on Chehalis Forest Service Road as of Sunday, May 16, 2021. (BC Fire Services)
Wildfire near Harrison Mills grows to 3 hectares, BC Fire Service on site

Resident near wildfire: ‘I pray that the Creator brings rain as soon as possible’

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

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

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) (File Photo)
Police watchdog investigating after man found dead in Surrey following a wellness check

IIO says officers ‘reportedly spoke to a man at the home before departing’

Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Most Read