If the Fraser River ever were to breach its dikes in a major flood, the result would be a catastrophe of historical proportions.
Up to 300,000 residents and $50 billion in development could be gravely impacted.
So concludes the Fraser Basin Council, as it puts together a coalition of local and senior governments and other interests all focused on developing a strategy to protect the region from a devastating flood.
It’s a laudable and entirely necessary initiative, but one which begs the question: What took so long?
In 2007, the Fraser threatened to overwhelm the existing dikes, which were frantically raised in some spots.
Seven years later, authorities identify the need for a multi-billion-dollar regional flood protection plan – one that would coordinate efforts between communities so that the surging Fraser isn’t simply pushed from one vulnerable spot to the next along its route.
Climate change and altered weather patterns didn’t begin seven years ago. Arbitrary grant applications for dike work and varied maintenance efforts from one community to the next are nothing new either.
In the meantime, as Mayor Ted Adlem points out, little consensus has been reached on dredging parts of the river, which still seems to be anathema to senior government agencies.
Make no mistake, a cohesive Fraser River flood protection strategy is vital.
It just best not take another seven years to expedite some actual action.