The Fraser Basin Council predicts more frequent and destructive floods on the Fraser River with climate change. (THE NEWS/files)

Pitt Meadows needs help with flood protection

Fraser Basin Council says dikes are inadequate as risk increases

Dikes in Pitt Meadows and across the Lower Mainland are too low to offer protection against the worst Fraser River floods or a potential storm surge of coastal waters.

That was the message brought to Pitt Meadows council by Steve Litke, senior program manager with the Fraser Basin Council on Tuesday night. That group is working on a Lower Mainland Flood Managment Strategy to reduce the risks of a major flood.

The cost of reinforcing flood protection is beyond what local governments can afford. Litke’s non-profit organization does not yet have a price, but cited a cost estimate in 2012 of $9.5 billion to bring up all Lower Mainland dikes to protect against a one-metre rise in sea level.

After hearing the presentation, Pitt Meadows council asked staff to investigate the possibility of a regional approach to dike maintenance and flood management.

Mayor Bill Dingwall, attending electronically, said Metro’s ability to lobby for senior government funding will be important.

Litke thought it was a good motion.

“This is an issue that would benefit from a greater level of coordination,” he said.

Pitt Meadows dikes are built to protect against a flood level established in 1968, but those elevations were increased in 2007, and seismic considerations were later added, calling for wider dikes. With climate change models predicting a rise in sea levels, Litke said the call for higher dikes has been renewed.

Litke said climate change science also predicts larger and more frequent floods on the Fraser River.

The factors are a high snowpack, a hot spring producing a sudden melt, then heavy rains.

Litke said last spring it looked like these conditions were aligning, but the weather cooled and the freshet came more gradually.

His group’s work has also identified the tremendous assets left at risk through inadequate flood protection and a major flood – assuming widespread failure of dikes – would trigger losses estimated at $20 to $30 billion, making it potentially the largest disaster in Canadian history.

Pitt Meadows council watcher William Wild identified that there are low spots on Pitt Meadows dikes which should be brought up to the same standard as the rest of the system.

Litke agreed it may be a prudent first step to address low spots in the short-term, although all the dike infrastructure will need to be upgraded eventually.

The flood management strategy will identify the most important areas where flood protection should be increased, and approximate cost estimates. The Fraser Basin Council expects to have the strategy ready to guide region-wide action by winter 2020.

Just Posted

Super 30 screening at ACT in Maple Ridge

Movie is based on international best-selling book by Maple Ridge doctor

Camp closing means it’s time to heal and move on, says MLA

Watershed moment for Maple Ridge, says D’Eith

Local rink wins King Cash Spiel

Ryan Rink wins World Curling Tour event in Maple Ridge

Several charges after arrest Friday in Maple Ridge

Court appearance Monday in Port Coquitlam

Maple Ridge’s Tiller’s Folly kick off international music series in Surrey

Come Dancing Around the World takes place at the Surrey Arts Centre

VIDEO: Drone footage documents work to free salmon at Big Bar landslide

Video shows crews working to remove rocks and wood, and transporting salmon by helicopter

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Vancouver police could be using drones to fight crime by end of year

The police department has already purchased three drones, as well as three others for training

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Grand opening of Molson Coors Fraser Valley Brewery at Chilliwack cause for celebration

Ribbon-cutting with dignitaries, Molson brass and family marked the official grand opening

B.C. cabinet minister denies that Surrey mayor’s friend attended government meeting

Surrey councillor questions Vancouver businessman Bob Cheema’s involvement in official meeting

Most Read