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Delta throwback: Another dike project

The project at the time cost under $400,000
Men and machines starting a dike upgrade project on River Road West in 1974.

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 50 years, and the B.C. government recently released its long-awaited flood protection strategy, a plan that doesn’t specify timeliness, price tags or how exactly projects are to be funded.

The province released its Intentions Paper on the flood strategy more than a year ago. That document acknowledged that, due to climate change, river flooding is expected to be at least 10-to-20 per cent more frequent, while local floods from heavy downpours are expected to be 40 per cent more frequent, and that sea level rise of more than one metre is expected by the end of this century.

That report noted the vast majority of dikes in the province no longer meet provincial standards, with one study estimating only five per cent of all dikes in the entire Lower Mainland meet current standards.

The City of Delta over the years has undertaken a number of  studies and capital works.

However, the estimated cost for Delta for dike raising and seismic improvements of its entire network by 2100 is pegged at more than $1.9 billion, with the first phase alone, excluding seismic improvements, estimated at $350 million.