The final portion of diking designed to provide flood protection for Duncan and the Koksilah industrial and business complex area is now complete thanks to $4.133 million in funding from the federal and provincial governments and the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD).
The project provides five new diking sections that now complete the comprehensive flood infrastructure system along the Cowichan River and are designed to protect against high velocity and deep water flooding. Totalling just over 2 km in length, the new dikes will protect the regional commercial core from flooding up into the Duncan area as well as south of the river through the industrial lands where both industries and critical groundwater reserves are now protected. The diking’s integrated program protects the communities of Duncan, Cowichan Tribes, North Cowichan and Cowichan Bay and provides substantial benefit to fisheries and biodiversity in the face of a changing climate.
Funds came from the federal government’s Building Canada Fund, provincial government’s Flood Protection Program and local governments, with each level of government contributing equal amounts of funding.
The lower Cowichan floodplain covers one of the region’s major urban centres and includes substantial portions of the region’s population as well as much of its critical infrastructure and social capital including medical facilities, schools, cultural centre and longhouses, fire hall, ambulance station, RCMP office and the Sportsplex. Recent flooding in the area demonstrated immediate impact to the community, resulting in flooded homes and long-term economic and social impacts.
The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities —
“Safe communities are the foundation for a prosperous nation, and I want to commend the Cowichan Valley Regional District for their proactive approach to mitigating flood risks. By working in conjunction with provincial and municipal partners, we are building a legacy of strong and stable infrastructure that will benefit Canadians now and in the future. Providing support for infrastructure projects like this is a priority, and we will continue to work to find ways that ensure our nation’s infrastructure needs are met.”
Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness Naomi Yamamoto —
“The B.C. government values the public safety of all British Columbians, and anything we can do to identify and reduce risk is a step in the right direction. We have invested significantly in flood mitigation and prevention since 2008, committing $173 million with the federal and local governments for 168 flood mitigation projects in 65 communities throughout British Columbia. We will continue to work to find ways to limit the impacts of the risks our citizens are exposed to when disaster strikes, and we are committed to working collaboratively to improve safety and well-being for all British Columbians as we continue to improve on ensuring public safety and disaster preparedness.”
Cowichan Valley Regional District Board chair and Mayor of North Cowichan, Jon Lefebure —
“The dike project reinforces the importance of taking a collaborative approach to climate change. By working with federal, provincial, local and First Nation governments, we were able to protect our community now and into the future.”
- Under the Communities Component of the Building Canada Fund, federal and provincial governments provide up to two-thirds of the funding for eligible project costs, with local governments and diking authorities covering the remainder of project funding.
- In November 2009, the area experienced a flood with a relatively low one-in-seven return but triggered concern around the need to protect the regional sewage treatment facility and residential areas.
- The CVRD has one of the first Integrated flood management strategies developed in Canada that takes into consideration both the protection of communities, ecological restoration and climate impacts in an integrated fashion.
Infrastructure Canada: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/plan/plan-eng.html
Western Economic Diversification Canada: http://www.wd-deo.gc.ca/eng/home.asp