The Dry Creek Improvement Project in Port Alberni is complete, thanks to over $2.7 million in funding split equally between the Government of Canada’s Building Canada Fund – Communities Component, the Province, and the City of Port Alberni.
The project will improve flood protection infrastructure in the area adjacent to Dry Creek at 3rd Avenue and 4th Avenue in Port Alberni, with improvements aimed at reducing flood risk.
Dry Creek has a drainage area of approximately 12 square kilometres, with an estimated 200-year flood-flow of 44 m3/s. Historically this caused regular flooding on one of the main commercial areas of the city on lower 3rd Ave. The previous capacity of the channel was insufficient to handle the surge of storm water generated.
Since 2008, the federal and provincial governments have partnered to protect communities throughout British Columbia by committing to 168 flood mitigation projects worth nearly $127 million in 65 communities through Emergency Management BC’s Flood Protection Program.
Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada –
“The Government of Canada has recognized the value of investments in infrastructure, both as a means of creating stronger communities as well as helping to create the foundation for continued economic growth. We are committed to making the necessary investments in Canada’s infrastructure needs, which will develop a safer, more prosperous country.”
Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness –
“We work across British Columbia with local authorities like the City of Port Alberni to address potential risk and help support infrastructure upgrades to keep communities in our province safe. Given the history of flooding in the downtown area, this project will help us to protect downtown businesses and the city’s residents to ensure economic well-being and prosperity and avoid the challenges floods present.”
Mike Ruttan, mayor, City of Port Alberni –
“With severe weather events on the rise, infrastructure improvements like this are critical to our community’s safety and prosperity now and into the future. I am very pleased that the provincial and federal governments partnered with us to help move this project forward in a timely fashion.”
- The total project cost is $2,736,498 split evenly between the Government of Canada, the Province, and the City of Port Alberni. The Government of Canada’s portion was delivered by Western Economic Diversification Canada.
- The flooding issues in Dry Creek began in the 1940s. Since the early 1990s, record winter storms have caused severe flooding below 10th Ave. in Port Alberni. These floods have been most devastating during the fall and spring, when the heavy rains are combined with large tides. During November, 2006, the flooding was so severe it shut down a four-block radius of residences and businesses, a major traffic corridor and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage.
- Damage to the environment is also significant in the flooded reaches of lower Dry Creek. Steelhead, Cutthroat and Coho are still found to occupy this creek to its uppermost reaches albeit in significantly less than historical numbers. The impacts of flood events on fish and their habitat are reduced migration, spawning and rearing conditions throughout the creek but especially in the lower reaches.
- Over 650 metres of vertical and horizontal improvements were made to the channel’s cross-section, along with increased openings of the flow restrictions at the crossings of 3rd and 4th Avenues, widening the 3rd Avenue bridge crossing; removing a structure over the creek near the 3rd Avenue crossing; widening the channel base and reconstruct the side slopes with fish-friendly enhancements; raising the 4th Avenue bridge crossing and constructing a sediment trap.
Link to original funding announcement: http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=845059&tp=1
Province of British Columbia’s flood protection and planning: http://bit.ly/1OkJDa7
City of Port Alberni: http://www.portalberni.ca/