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District of Hope will ask province for ‘significant funding’ in wake of flooding events

Offloading costs of dike authority to municipalities isn’t working, says Hope mayor
The District of Hope is working with the province to identify the most at-risk areas in Hope, and will be asking for “significant” funding for flood mitigation. (Jessica Peters/ Hope Standard)

The District of Hope has been working with the provincial government to identify the most pressing needs of the community in the wake of historic flood damages.

Homes, businesses and recreation areas have all taken a hard hit since the first atmospheric river stalled over the region in mid-November.

Mayor Peter Robb said in a public statement this week that he is working closely with other government agencies in the aftermath of the local disaster.

“We are actively addressing areas of concern such as the riverbank along the Coquihalla, Othello Road, and other low-lying areas,” he said. “You will clearly see work already underway and we are queuing up more projects we feel need provincial endorsement and funding right now.”

The areas he noted include the river bank along a section of Gardner Drive, the Glenhalla Dike to the Hospital, and both the Rotary Trail and golf course river banks.

“Our Operations Department, along with hydrotechnical engineers, are moving quickly to protect banks, confirm future requirements and prioritize project requests to the province,” he said.

He also said the current way of doing things is not working. About 20 years ago, the province made a change in funding for flood mitigation, offloading the responsibility to municipalities. It’s a decision that has been unpopular for municipalities for years now, including in Hope.

“All this brings to mind our belief that the province should assume all diking authority as they are the level of government best resourced to undertake required capital and maintenance work,” Robb said. “The current model of having municipalities compete for grant funding amongst each other has not worked for some time.”

He added that the District of Hope will be seeking “significant funding” to address the areas of risk they’ve identified. In the meantime, he said, staff are extremely busy with this extra workload.

READ MORE: Evacuation order lifted for south portion of Sumas Prairie in Abbotsford


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Jessica Peters

About the Author: Jessica Peters

I began my career in 1999, covering communities across the Fraser Valley ever since.
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