Skip to content

Province commits $10 million for flood mitigation in Hatzic, Nicomen Island

Funding to upgrade Hatzic pump station, prevent ongoing erosion near Athey Road
A local state of emergency was issued for the Hatzic Lake area during the atmospheric river event in November 2021. The province announced $5 million in funds to upgrade the Hatzic pump station and electrical kiosks on Monday (Marh 18). /Bob Friesen File Photo

Flood mitigation efforts for the Hatzic and Nicomen Island areas received a $10 million boost on Monday (March 18).

The Ministry of Agriculture announced $5 million in funding for upgrades to the Hatzic pump station and electrical kiosk, as well as another $5 million for the Athey Road Bank Stabilization Project.

In a joint news release with the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD), Leq’á:mel First Nation and the Dewdney Area Improvement District (DAID), the funding was called a “significant move to enhance community resilience and safeguard against the impacts of severe weather events”.

Upgrades to the Hatzic pump station and electrical kiosk are designed to raise the kiosk to a higher flood-resistant level. Fish-friendly technology for the pump station will increase water transmission capacity.

DAID president Deb MacKay says the organization, which owns and operates the pump station and electrical kiosks, appreciates the funding.

“We look forward to actively participating with our partners in the planning and implementation of these projects that will enhance flood resilience to protect our shared agricultural and community assets,” MacKay said in the news release.

The $5 million project also includes the development of a Hatzic Flood Mitigation and Watershed Master Plan.

Meanwhile, the Athey Road Bank Stabilization Project targets a section of shoreline adjacent to Athey Road on the east side of Nicomen Island to prevent ongoing erosion.

According to the news release, the erosion has intensified in recent years. Bank stabilization will support the integrity of the dike and protect residents, including Leq’á:mel reserve lands and village sites.

“For decades, flood management in our Territory occurred without our knowledge, consent and involvement,” Leq’á:mel Chief Councillor Alice Thompson said. “These projects open the door to a new collaborative planning approach centred around a recognition of our Indigenous Rights. The projects on Athey Road and in the Hatzic Valley affirms our role in advancing Indigenous-driven watershed governance and will help to secure a more climate-resilient future for all peoples living in our Territory.”

The funding comes via the Fraser Valley Flood Mitigation Program, which the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC delivers. Minister of Agriculture and Abbotsford-Mission MLA Pam Alexis said the projects reflect the commitment of those involved.

“The work along the river will result in safer communities, more secure food production on farmland, and serve as an example of what can be achieved when people work together,” Alexis said.

The Hatzic Watershed Stewardship Team (HWST) includes the City of Mission, FVRD, DAID, Leq’á:mel and several provincial ministries. It has been working to curb flooding in the area since the atmospheric river events of 2021.

FVRD Chair Jason Lum says seeing the collaborative efforts to address complex challenges has been gratifying.

“Electoral Area Directors Cory Cassel and Hugh Davidson as well as [Mission] Mayor Paul Horn have been persistent in their advocacy for residents on the north side of the Fraser River, and I am confident that both of these projects will serve the community well as we strive toward climate readiness,” Lum said.

Nicomen Island Improvement District chair John Kerkhoven says protecting high-value farmland will also be critical to ensuring food security.

According to the news release, the projects contribute to ecological benefits as well, including support for riparian habitat preservation endeavours.

READ MORE: Climate change drives Hatzic’s challenges as project repairs damage from 2021 floods

Dillon White

About the Author: Dillon White

I joined the Mission Record in November of 2022 after moving to B.C. from Nova Scotia earlier in the year.
Read more