Let’s go back to July of 1974 when work began on upgrading a dike in Ladner.
Men and machines were starting a $380,000 project on River Road West near Westminster Avenue.
The work would provide a new pumping station and raise the dike by up to two-and-a-half feet.
That stretch of road would be closed for over a month as drivers had to detour to get through the area.
Fast forward to 2023 and city council member Dylan Kruger, who chairs Metro Vancouver’s Flood Resiliency Committee, warned that the 2021 flooding of Sumas Prairie highlights that action is needed immediately on diking upgrades in the region.
“The events of the Sumas flood a couple of years ago really reminded all local governments in the Lower Mainland that we can’t continue to compete with each other for scarce senior government grant funding. We have to collaborate and work together and try to find some sort of scientific, objective means of prioritizing our diking and flood mitigation needs across the region. Because, when one of our municipalities hit, we’re not in isolation. The entire region is affected, so there is some urgency in this,” said Kruger.
While the B.C. government is moving forward with formulating a new flood strategy, work needs to continue regionally on the issue as well, he added.
Providing feedback on the British Columbia Flood Strategy Intentions Paper, Metro Vancouver recently made a series of recommendations to the province, including that the government establish long-term and predictable funding.
The City of Delta had already provided similar feedback.
Delta Engineering Director Steven Lan has told council that the current estimated cost to upgrade the city’s 67 km of dikes and associated pump stations is approximately $1.9 billion.